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Guide to the Hollywood Fringe Festival

Celebrate Los Angeles' vast performing arts scene by participating in the Hollywood Fringe Festival—here's how

Photograph: Victoria Steger, courtesy of Hollywood Fringe Festival
Hollywood Fringe Festival Director Ben Hill at the 2013 festival awards night party and closing ceremony.

Los Angeles isn't just a melting pot of cultures, it's a melting pot of talent. From the city's essential museums and art galleries to its best performing arts centers, there's an abundance of talent to be tapped into. Hoping to do just that is the Hollywood Fringe Festival, an annual event that brings Angelenos together every June to celebrate the performing arts community in LA. Parks, bars, churches and other venues throughout the city will become hotspots for local performances of all kinds.

When is the Hollywood Fringe Festival?

The Hollywood Fringe Festival will take place June 9-26, 2016.

Where does it take place?

A full list of participating venues can be found here.

What shows are being presented as part of the festival?

There will be more than 1,400 performances taking place throughout the festival. A full calendar of events can be found here.

How much are tickets? 

Ticket prices vary for each show.

How can I participate?

If you want to participate by creating a show for the festival, click here to find out how.

10 shows to see at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

1

Sticky Fingers

Every year, there’s a show people feel inexplicably drawn to because of its confessional nature. This time, Fringe-goers may feel compelled to see a play about real-life women, ages 16 to 76, who have sought that five-finger discount known as shoplifting. Written by Terry Anne Holzman, the play is hosted by a security guard and features characters who just have to grab a little something on the go. Or, in the case of a certain Hollywood celebrity, grab a whole lotta expensive somethings. Just to be clear, these women are played by actors, and the actors are not the shoplifters. Now, be sure to pay for your tickets.

The Dorie Theatre at the Complex (6476 Santa Monica Blvd); June 4 at 6:30pm, June 11 at 10pm, June 12 at 7pm, June 17 at 7pm,  June 18 at 2pm, June 25 at 10pm; $12. 

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2

The Creeps

One creepy clown is usually the basis of a movie. A handful of them? Yee-ikes. But in her solo show in which she creates all these characters, Catherine Waller promises “comedy with a dangerous element.” She also warns that her clowns will talk to the audience and expect the audience to talk back. Waller trained at the New Zealand National Drama School. We wonder if she was the class clown there. Appropriate for ages 15 and up.

Lounge Theatre (Lounge 2) (6201 Santa Monica Blvd); June 3 at 11:55pm, June 4 at 11:55pm, June 5 at 10pm; $12. 

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3

Yuri Speaks Out

Every Fringe needs an inspiring show, and this show has all the hallmarks. It’s about the Japanese-American Yuri Kochiyama—born in our very own San Pedro, then forced into an internment camp in Arkansas—who eventually became a civil rights activist, working alongside Malcolm X. Reportedly, people couch surfing at her tiny apartment were a who’s who of activists. Kochiyama died at 93, in 2014. Here she’s portrayed by Ariel Labasan, in what looks to be a fairly straightforward recounting of a life worth living.

Lounge Theatre (Lounge 1) (6201 Santa Monica Blvd); June 4 at 2pm (preview show), June 15 at 4pm, June 18 at 11:55am; $14. 

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4

“Power!” Stokely Carmichael

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Black Power Movement, Meshaun Labrone wrote and stars in this show about the Trinidadian-American Stokely Carmichael, who became a Freedom Rider to desegregate the bus station restaurants along America’s East Coast. Then, depending on your views, things turned sour, or he became tougher, expanding his efforts to effect change while blaming other minorities for the state of the world and eventually for his illness. But this might not be a straightforward account. According to Labrone, his play “takes an absurdist journey into the mind of [this] revolutionary.” That could help soften the ideology, as well as take the show out of the “and then we wrote” category of biographies. Fellow marchers during this production are the audience members. Right on!

Lounge Theatre (Lounge 2) (6201 Santa Monica Blvd); June 3 (preview show), June 5 at 4pm (preview show), June 10 at 11:55pm, June 11 at 6pm; $15. 

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5

Paul Dooley: Upright and Personal

You know Paul Dooley from pretty much every television series you’ve ever watched. Add in dozens of movies and a few video games, and his credits total more than 200. In this one-person show, he’ll tell you more about his life, which started in West Virginia and led to Hollywood and Deep Space, as he became a cartoonist, Navy man, clown, magician and superb thespian. There’s sadness in his life, too, and according to the title of his work, we’ll hear about it.

Sacred Fools Theater Second Stage (
6320 Santa Monica Blvd); June 9 at 8:30pm, June 12 at 8:30pm, June 16 at 9pm, June 17 at 8pm, June 19 at 5:30pm, June 23 at 10:30pm, June 24 at 7:30pm, June 25 at 8pm; $10-$15. 

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6

The Toxic Avenger Musical

Melvin Ferd the Third, an earth scientist, wants to clean up Tromaville, the most polluted town in New Jersey. He’s also in love with the town’s blind librarian, but she can’t see the good in him. After the corrupt mayor’s thugs dump Melvin into a drum of radioactive toxic waste, he emerges as the Toxic Avenger, New Jersey’s first superhero. So goes this Off-Broadway cult rock musical, with book by Joe DiPietro, music by David Bryan, and lyrics by both, based on Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman’s 1984 film. With direction and choreography by the newest Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle lifetime achievement winner Janet Miller, and music direction by her frequent collaborator Corey Hirsch, we can pretty much guaranty contamination-free theater.

Sacred Fools Theater Main Stage (1076 Lillian Way); June 4 at 6pm, June 6 at 8pm, June 10 at 9pm, June 11 at 6pm, June 13 at 11pm, June 15 at 11pm, June 16 at 7pm, June 18 at 6pm, June 22 at 10pm, June 24 at 8pm, June 25 at 5pm, June 26 at 1pm;  $15-$20. 

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7

Nick Paul | Impossible Feats of Fake Magic

You know the drill at magic shows. Stuff appears, stuff disappears. The magician provides the sarcastic glances and quips, while we are the embarrassed audience members. But this guy has a sharp skills set, he’s backed by fun and varied tunes, and, well, the critic at the Orlando Sentinel highly recommends the show. And if the show is, impossibly, not that good, you can sit there trying to deconstruct its title. But it’s just not a Fringe Festival without a magic show.

Ruby Theatre at the Complex (6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles); June 17 at 8:30pm, June 18 at 6:30pm,
June 19 at 8pm, June 22 at 8:30pm, June 24 at 11:30pm,
 June 25 at 6:30pm; $20. 

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8

Macdeth!

What’s a great way to avoid the curse of Shakespeare’s Scottish play? (It’s said to be bad luck to say “Macbeth” inside a theater, other than in the play.) Call it Macdeth, so everyone can talk about it, anywhere. Then, lighten up the classic study in evil with “a touch of Monty Python,” presumably leaving in the witches, creeping forests and damned spots. And if you’re writer Ryan J-W Smith, you’ll manage to do it in rhyming iambic pentameter. Plus, this troupe hails from the UK, so the performers will speak with really cool accents.

Ruby Theatre at the Complex (6476 Santa Monica Blvd); June 2 at 8:30pm (preview show), June 9 at 8:30pm, June 17 at 10pm, June 23 at 7pm, June 25 at 8pm; $12. 

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9

Toiley T. Paper: Roll Model!

This is a Fringe. A Fringe needs a puppet show and, it being the only purely puppet show on the docket, apparently this one has wiped out its competition. Grant Baciocco and John B. Dehaas promise “40 minutes of comedy, music, and foul-mouthed puppets with an attitude that skewers the Hollywood fame machine.” Could be great, could be terrible. But please don’t squeeze the puppets. Recommended for teens and up.

Asylum’s (Inter)national House Main Space (6500 Santa Monica Blvd); June 20 at 7:30pm, June 22 at 8:30pm; $8. 

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10

The Designated Mourner by Wallace Shawn

You may know Wallace Shawn from all sorts of quirky screen and off-screen appearances—a conversationalist in My Dinner With Andre, the sly Vizzini in The Princess Bride and, of course, Rex the dinosaur in the Toy Story franchise. Well, he’s also a playwright, and his intriguing mind penned this 1996 script that caused the New York Times critic Ben Brantley to call him “one of the most complex and uncompromising moralists of the American theater.” In this play, three intellectuals speak out about politics and privilege, class and culture. They’re played here by three actors from the Los Angeles–based theater company Theatre of NOTE—Brad Light, Rebecca Light and Christopher Neiman. It’s not inconceivable that this will be one of the theatrical highlights of the fringe.

Theatre of NOTE (1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd); June 5 at 6:30pm (preview show), June 11 at 5pm, June 12 at 2pm, June 18 at 6:30pm, June 19 at 2pm, June 24 at 9:30pm, June 25 at 5pm. $12. 

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