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The Fringe Festival NYC guide

Looking for info on Fringe Festival NYC? Here are details on shows and tickets at the biggest Off-Off Broadway event.

Photograph: Helen Doig
Tiffany Barton, Diva

As Broadway and Off Broadway take breathers before the fall, August means just one thing for New York theater: Fringe Festival NYC. More than 75,000 people swarm annually through this hive of theater and dance, making the Fringe Festival NYC theatergoers’ prime thing to do in summer. This year’s 20th edition includes 200 offerings by various theater and dance companies, each of which gets just five or six chances to show its stuff. Many of the city’s best Off-Off Broadway venues participate.

Of course, quantity doesn’t always equal quality—and that’s where we come in. The wide variety of Fringe offerings includes musicals, experimental pieces, classical revivals and ramshackle new works. Some may go on to glory (Fringe Festival alumnus Urinetown become one of the best Broadway musicals), while others will fade into well-deserved obscurity. We pick and choose what we review, so check this page once the festival gets underway.

What is the Fringe Festival NYC?

The Fringe Festival is a sprawling annual showcase for theater and dance, staged in multiple venues in downtown Manhattan. It was founded in 1997.

When is the Fringe Festival NYC?

This year's edition of the Fringe Festival runs from August 12 to August 28, 2016.

Where is the Fringe Festival NYC?

Fringe shows are staged at numerous different venues, most of them in the East Village and Lower East Side.

How do I buy tickets for the Fringe Festival NYC?

Tickets are $18 per show, and some shows sell out fast. A full list of the productions—and where and when they're playing—can be found at the official Fringe Festival website. And if you can’t get tickets to a particular show, don’t give up hope: Some of the most popular Fringe plays return in September as part of the FringeNYC Encore Series.

Archive Fringe Festival coverage

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28 shows to check out at the Fringe Festival (2015)

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LGBT

Gay shows at the Fringe Festival (2015)

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Blog

Five kinds of Fringe Festival show (2014)

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Blog

FringeNYC Encores Series announced (2014)

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Past Fringe Festival top picks

Theater

The Bloodline of Shadrick Grace (2014)

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Theater

Joel Creasey: Rock God (2014)

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Theater

Hoaxocaust! (2014)

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Theater

I'll Say She Is (2014)

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Past Fringe Festival reviews

Hoaxocaust! (2014)

Did Hoaxocaust! really happen? That’s a running question in Barry Levey’s semisatirical monologue, in which he recounts a globe-trotting voyage into the creepy world of Holocaust denial. Spurred by arguments with his Midwestern Jewish family and his Dominican boyfriend, Levey begins to wonder whether Jews evoke Nazi Germany too readily to defend their own insularity and Israel’s military policy: Does this the-Shoah-must-go-on attitude trigger an implicit Godwin’s Law that makes non-Jews tune out or turn against the conversation? From this starting point, Levey, who cannily presents himself as a nervous nonperformer, embarks on a series of brief encounters with renowned revisionists, including England’s David Irving and France’s Robert Faurisson. The unlikeness of his story creates what could be an interesting tension with the show’s concerns about historical veracity, but this potential is not fully realized; the unreliability of the narrative is clear from the start. And although Levey means to illustrate how easy it can be to fall for misinformation, especially in the Internet era, the conclusion of his show effectively obviates the preceding hour in one or two minutes of facts. Meanwhile, what turns out to be his central contention remains underdeveloped. Hoaxocaust! raises provocative questions, then spends most of its time evading them: It may be true that evoking the Holocaust helps spur anti-Semitism, but Levey’s story doesn’t makes a convincing argument about that, ei

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Theater

MANish Boy (2014)

Ralph Harris is ecstatic when he gets a call from an old lover, but before he can finish his question—“Do you still have those hot pants…”—she tells him that he might be a father. The DNA test he must take sends him back to his hometown of Philadelphia, where every street is a memory lane. Harris relives his boyhood: wishes on his family’s spin-top chair (“make me rich, make me rich”), stoop speeches about “freaking girls,” a glorious arrest for trespassing on a playground. Amid the child’s play, he delves into serious matters. How do you know how to be a dad when yours left when you were seven? With compassion and verisimilitude, he portrays his violent, substance-abusing father and uncle, conveying both their love and their terror in a heartbreaking performance. For comic relief, he also plays his delightful 94-year-old grandfather (who, when held at gunpoint, hilariously shames his assailant) and his mother’s best friend (who became his lover when he was 20). Harris's delivery combines incredible speed with impressive diction and clarity—the words flow with terrific musicality—and he enacts his physical transformations with grace and agility. With bittersweet humor, Harris offers a memorable look at the things that can separate men from boys.—Sarah Andrew Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Theater

Fatty Fatty No Friends (2014)

In the opening moments of Fatty Fatty No Friends, we hear a band that evokes Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The music (by Christian De Gré) has a creepy-carnival vibe, and the imagery is pure Halloween: stilt-walking skeletons and an army of stylish teens with black rings around their eyes. Obese Tommy (Jason Sofge) waddles straight into this horror show, assailed by taunting, abusive classmates and menaced by skeletons. Our chubby hero awakes, goes to school and is befriended for the first time in his life—until the popular mean girl (Mia Thomas) intervenes. Alone in the bathroom, Tommy realizes that his bullies aren’t nasty on the inside but actually…delicious. So he decides to take gruesome action. (Flesh hangs off characters’ bodies in the form of red sashes.) The inventive set is drawn on reversible sheets held up by performers, and the ensemble is perfectly despicable. But the real discovery is Sofge, whose vulnerability makes Tommy’s journey authentic rather than just endearing. (He shines in an amusing tune about sweatpants: “They don’t tear, they don’t split / They remind me that there’s a place I fit.”) De Gré, lyricist Joseph Reese Anderson and book writer Serrana Gay have created a surprisingly touching piece that, whether it makes you cackle or sniffle, ought to have a future life. With childhood obesity on the rise, this serotonin-boosting musical ought to be performed in schools throughout the land.—Sarah Andrew Click here for full TONY coverage o

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Theater

The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen (2014)

The life of Dr. H. H. Crippen, a homeopath who made a stir in 1910 when his wife's dead body was found hacked to pieces in his basement, is the inspiration for Emily Schwartz’s imaginative dark comedy. This, however, is no ordinary retelling: The three different "Faces" of Dr. Crippen—his Public, Private and Fantasy sides (played by Stuart Ritter, Scott Cupper and Matt Holzfeind, respectively)— depict the thought processes that led to the murder. The concept might sound heavy-handed, but in this riotous, poignant production, it is handled with a light tough. Schwartz's script masterfully balances slapstick with drama, blending the gaudiness of a bad vaudeville act with the absurdism of a Pinter play. The play hews to the facts of the case and spans nearly 25 years, from the beginning of Crippen’s medical career to his eventual execution in a London jail, yet never gets mired in exposition—a testament to director Jimmy McDermott swift, quick-witted staging and the ensemble cast's spot-on comic skill. Although it takes time for the three Faces to fully develop into unique personae, they run the gamut tirelessly between laughter and tragedy, pulling out every trick they can until they all must face the music together.—Chris Corbo Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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