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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.

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)
LGBTQ+

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

Vestments of the Gods (2014)
Theater

Vestments of the Gods (2014)

With a name like Thebes Street Elementary, it’s no wonder that a school’s Halloween festivities take a dark turn in Vestments of the Gods. Writer Owen Panettieri’s adaptation of Antigone is a clever (if sometimes heavy-handed) examination of the thoughtlessness that can allow problems to fester into tragedy. Casting a wide net on such social issues as censorship, bullying and workplace discrimination, the play often has an After-School Special feel, and its primary antagonist is a conservative straw man: an odious PTA president (Broadway veteran Jennifer Cody, deliciously viperish) who bears the brunt of Panettieri’s social criticism. Yet the production transcends the script’s weaknesses, thanks to Joey Brenneman’s savvy and sensitive direction, and a truly excellent ensemble led by Erica Diaz as the sixth-grade heroine. Jaunty songs by Panettieri and composer David Carl, sung by a convincingly adolescent Greek chorus, provide effective counterpoint for the debate-driven scenes, while Erin Michelle Routh’s costumes offer a range of witty, homespun Halloween getups. Greek tragedy isn’t known for its subtlety, but tricks and treats help the medicine go down.—Austin Ruffer Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking (2014)

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking (2014)

Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Buy
Bedroom Secrets (2014)
Theater

Bedroom Secrets (2014)

The Beatles classic “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” plays as the house lights fade and Thomas and Judy Heath’s touching and charming comedic drama Bedroom Secrets begins. Eager to hear their intimate conversations, we are soon peeking into the world of psychotherapist Robin (well played by Ashlie Atkinson) and five of her patients. All of the latter are masterfully embodied by Nurse Jackie's Stephen Wallem, who transforms himself with bold physical choices and small changes of costume and props (a scarf, a pair of glasses). The issues range from porn addiction to struggles with marriage and sexuality; of particular interest are Hunter, a boisterous gay architect whose partner has a roving eye, and Tiffany, an über-naive but lovable Valley girl who sleeps with “losers” on the first date. Meanwhile, Robin is exploring romance with Paul (Wallem’s sixth character), and although they're both likable, their story doesn't seem fully fleshed out. When Paul, en route to their first weekend getaway, confesses that there are things he hasn't told her about himself, she responds by saying, “We all have our secrets." Well, what are they? The play explores the foibles and vulnerabilities of Robin's patients in satisfying depth, but its central couple leaves you wanting to know more.
—Valerie David Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Sick City Blues (2014)
Theater

Sick City Blues (2014)

The unintended and nervous giggles from the audience during Jake Shore’s Sick City Blues are understandable: Though not sick, the play does leave you blue. Marty (Stephen Heskett) is hiring Ray (Adam Files) to steal an important briefcase from mob boss Sal (Gavin Starr Kendall), but Ray is on edge; among other problems, his accomplice is 17-year-old smart mouth Vinny (Justin Colón). Meanwhile, Mary (Cara Moretto), whose familial ties to Sal lack clarity, delivers a long, teary tale of being discovered by a policeman late one night while lying naked on a beach with a hookup. (The cop, she claims, got way too stop-and-frisk–y.) This makes Sal vow revenge on the cop, but Marty and Ray’s briefcase plan goes into action first, resulting in a successful theft but unforeseen complications. Throughout the play, Shore offers two modes: dialogue exploding with Mamet-style f-bombs, and long monologues festooned in the playwright-director's favorite color, purple. No doubt the audience's nervous chuckles also stem from basic confusion: Why are there two scenes extolling cunnilingus? Why have a molestation subplot only to kill it during the briefcase caper? When Ray finds out what’s in the briefcase, we also learn that Marty isn’t the mob boss we figured he was at the top of play. It’s a twist, all right, but one that's good only for a laugh.—Leonard Jacobs Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
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