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.

fringe festival nyc
Photograph: Helen DoigTiffany 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. Each year's festival includes roughly 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?

The Fringe Festival is taking a hiatus in 2017.

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 and October as part of the Fringe Encore Series.

Fringe Festival NYC

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part VI
News

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part VI

Reviews of #Blessed, Bonnie's Future Sisters, Brewed, Everything Is Fine…, Kerrmoor, Murmurs and Incantations, Patriot Act and Take One

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part V
News

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part V

Reviews of Colorblind’d, Diva, From the Deep, Off Track, Pucker Up and Blow, Steve Got Raped and Thread

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part IV
News

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part IV

Reviews of ChipandGus, The Coward, Honour, Love Me Forever Billy H. Tender, Lunt and Fontanne, The Princemaker and Walken on Sunshine

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part III
News

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part III

Reviews of Homo Sapiens Interruptus, Joey Variations, Mother Emanuel, Night of the Living N-Word, The Rahabilitation of Rolfe and more

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part II
News

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part II

Reviews of The Box Show, Brandonna Summer, Cyrano, 15 Villainous Fools, The Gorges Motel, Remember Me, Scratching and The Unusual Tale…

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part I
News

Fringe Festival 2016 reviews, Part I

Reviews of six Fringe shows: First Time, Long Time; The Fucking Problem; Hysterical!; Pryor Truth; Reagan's Athena; and Till Birnam Wood…

Five shows to see at the wonderful and wacky Fringe Festival
News

Five shows to see at the wonderful and wacky Fringe Festival

With 200 shows to choose from, here are five shows we’re looking forward to the most

Archive Fringe Festival coverage

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

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

Gay shows at the Fringe Festival (2015)
LGBT

Gay shows at the Fringe Festival (2015)

Five kinds of Fringe Festival show (2014)
News

Five kinds of Fringe Festival show (2014)

FringeNYC Encores Series announced (2014)
News

FringeNYC Encores Series announced (2014)

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Past Fringe Festival top picks

The Abduction of Becky Morris (2012)

The Abduction of Becky Morris (2012)

Antigone Unearthed (2012)

Antigone Unearthed (2012)

Fortunate Daughter (2012)

Fortunate Daughter (2012)

Quest for the West (2012)

Quest for the West (2012)

Past Fringe Festival reviews

Hoaxocaust! (2014)

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

Clive Barker's History of the Devil (2014)
Theater

Clive Barker's History of the Devil (2014)

There is a place where wretched souls from many walks of life huddle in darkness as minutes stretch into eternity and malignant spirits apply grotesque methods of torture. No, it’s not Christian Hell, but the 14th Street Y during any performance of Clive Barker’s History of the Devil. A grisly trifecta—bad acting, no apparent direction and a problematic script—damns watchers of this theological courtroom drama to everlasting torment, by which I mean two hours without intermission. Barker’s time-hopping 1980 fantasia predates his breakthrough Books of Blood and Hellraiser and is well suited to radio (there is a 1999 audio version) or perhaps a Syfy flick, but falls flat onstage. The Devil (Victoria Rae Sook) is put on trial for crimes against humanity on the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya. Witness testimony for the prosecution and the defense conjures up vignettes from past centuries, with Old Scratch corrupting or tempting folks from 13th-century-B.C. Russia to A.D.-18th-century England. Barker’s sprawling four-act pageant evokes Monty Python, George Bernard Shaw and even the metaphysics of Milton, but only a crew of amazing comic performers could pull off its whiplash changes from camp satire to cosmic tragedy. These actors, all 13 of them, are not up to the task. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many varieties of bad acting in one room: mush-mouth diction, inept blocking, hammy hysterics and dead-behind-the-eyes zombie delivery. You’ll wonder if you’ve walked into a cult me

Time Out says
1 out of 5 stars
Joel Creasey: Rock God (2014)
Theater

Joel Creasey: Rock God (2014)

Australian comedian Joel Creasey arrives at this year's Fringe having already achieved some level of fame in his own country, and it's easy to see why: The relentlessly hilarious 23-year-old has the chops of a much more seasoned performer, and the charisma of an inevitable star. Despite its inclusion in a theater festival, the show is essentially a stand-up set ("You can call it storytelling," he quips early on), complete with crowd work and an onstage water bottle. It's loosely structured around stories in which Creasey meets his childhood heroes (from a kids' TV show host to a famous Aussie stand-up), but the considerable magic is in the asides and tangents—many of which seem genuinely off-the-cuff. Whether recounting his failed stint as a ball boy in tennis or humblebragging about bedding his mother's Zumba instructor, Creasey is charmingly self-effacing without ever crossing the line into awkward self-loathing, and his ability to contort his face and voice to inhabit various characters recalls performers like Maria Bamford and Margaret Cho. (As with those funny ladies, Creasey's mom is the source of much of his comedy.) Rock God is a rare opportunity to catch a future star in an intimate setting. Don't miss it: You'll have great bragging rights when he sells out Radio City in a few years.—Ethan LaCroix Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet (2014)
Theater

Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet (2014)

Is Hamlet, prince of Denmark, truly insane or only feigning madness to plot his revenge? Is Gary Busey, hack of Hollywood, truly batshit or only faking it for reality TV? While one question has been asked by Shakespeare scholars, and the other by writers of episode recaps, only one person has raised both in purposeful conjunction. That would be David Carl, a man who can confidently place “Gary Busey Impersonator” at the top of his CV. (He also plays Busey in Point Break Live!) Carl’s 80-minute solo is as much stupid fun as its title suggests. With his death-mask grimace and penchant for New Agey acronyms, the barking-mad Busey—he literally barks and yips—is here to prove his “chops” by playing all roles in the classic tragedy. Employing paper puppets (bearing the actor’s face, of course) and interactive video, Carl and director Michole Biancosino take us on a psychotic ride through the tragedy’s five acts. First Folio purists beware: Busey/Carl takes liberties with the text, as when Polonius’s advice to Laertes seems to contain every catchphrase uttered in the President’s pep talk from Independence Day. For what is essentially a stunt, the piece is neatly crafted and packed with running gags (“Eggs-oont Ophelia,” he drawls into a handheld mike). The high point might be when Carl stages the fight between Hamlet and Laertes in Ophelia's grave as a bloody hand-to-hand brawl between the live actor and a projected video. It’s crazy hilarious.—David Cote Click here for full TONY c

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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