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Fringe Tracks

We asked comedians, publishers, civic leaders and other prominent Fringe fans to tell us what shows they were excited to see in this year's festival.

Mayor R. T. Rybak

R.T. Rybak
Mayor of Minneapolis

You’ll find Mayor R.T. Rybak just about anywhere in Minneapolis, whether at the theater, live music, farmers markets, a lake or a Twins game—often on a bike. Mayor Rybak knows that Minneapolis’ vibrant, cutting-edge performing-arts scene is one of our strongest assets: it generates jobs, draws visitors and defines who we are.

“Minnesota Fringe Festival reflects a core Minneapolis value: that art shouldn’t fit into an isolated box but should explode into our lives. Fringe surprises, shocks, inspires, confuses and includes us—but most of all, it opens our eyes.”

Romeo and Juliet Go to Winnipeg
Presented by Laura Littleford
“A fresh look on an old story. I kind of like the idea of their getting off that old balcony and escaping Burnsville for Winnipeg while on a high-school choir trip.”

Flops! A New Musical Revue
Presented by Blue Umbrella Productions
“Sounds like a sing-a-long version of The Producers.”

Taiko BAM!
Presented by Mu Performing Arts
“This group is a favorite for both my wife and me, and this combination of sounds from different countries sounds promising. ”

Breaking Down in America
Presented by Patrick Devine
“I love road trips and since I couldn’t take one this year, I want to ride along with Patrick Devine in his $500 Caddy.”

EWOCs Do It In 10 Minutes
Presented by The Unit Collective
“This collection of 10-minute plays fits my attention span.”

Bill Corbett

Bill Corbett
Writer + actor

Bill Corbett is a writer and actor who has written plays, screenplays and all sorts of generally humorous stuff. He is one of the three star writer-performers at Rifftrax.com, as well as a former writer, puppet-wielder and performer for Mystery Science Theater 3000.

“I am a huge fan of the Minnesota Fringe, and once even did a show there. Both as an audience member and a performer, it's a tremendously fun and exciting event, with an awesome creative energy that keeps Minnesota warm all winter.”

Amaretti Angels
Presented by Joking Apart Theater
“Besides being intrigued by “the rudest waitress in England,” and how a “very large peppermill” plays into the action, this show has Edwin Strout, an actor who I’ve never seen being anything less than stellar, especially in comedy.”

The Jack Chick Plays
Presented by Colder by the Lake
“If you know the loony Jack Chick tracts, full of over-the-top fundie fire and brimstone, then I probably don’t need to sell you on this. If not, but you’re a fan of skewering over-the-top fundie fire and brimstone... um, check it out.”

An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein
Presented by Evil Temptress Productions
“I am a Shel Silverstein fan. That’s pretty much the main reason I’d go to see this. The late Mr. Silverstein had an amazing career writing books, theater, and music. Did you know he wrote Johnny Cash’s hit “A Boy Named Sue?” Oh, it’s true!”

Wisdom: Part I
Presented by Jimmy Hogg
“Wisdom? Hey, I want wisdom. Don’t have it yet, and if this show can help, I’d go. Actually, haven’t seen Mr. Hogg perform yet, but I have it on good authority that he’s smart and hilarious. And Canadian, so he’s presumably a nice person.”

Story Time Time Bomb
Presented by Snikt! Bamf! Thwip!
“A funny kids show? Huzzah! I have kids, and they like smart, funny stuff; and I like that they like that. Also, this is written by some of the noble nerds who help run the local sci-fi convention CONvergence, including an actual paid comic book artist. That’s geek street cred!”

Melvin Tennant

Melvin Tennant
CEO and President,
Meet Minneapolis

Melvin Tennant, CAE has been the president and chief executive officer of Meet Minneapolis, Official Convention + Visitors Association since 2008, and CEO of Meet Minneapolis’ software affiliate iDSS since 2007. Tennant and his wife, Julie, are parents of five and grandparents of six.

“The 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival promises to be an even bigger event after its record ticket sales from last year. Events ranging from the eclectic to the sublime offer something from every cultural taste.”

I May Fly
Presented by Amy Schweickhardt
“I enjoy unique aspects of history and learned that this play has also been performed in May Pusey’s native Australia as well as London and New York. May seems to have taken advantage of every opportunity presented to her in her life and I look forward to the production.”

Aniga Adiga
Presented by C.R.A.Z.Y.
“Cultural diversity in Minneapolis is alive and well and the opportunity to hear personal stories of individuals with such varied backgrounds will give me an even greater appreciation for how Minneapolis welcomes the world!”

Pardon My French
Presented by Voix de Michèle Productions
Oui, je parle français. So I am always interested in any depiction of learning more about the French culture. I remember my own French classes in school and would like to see if things have changed.

The Quest
Presented by The Myth Players
“Sounds interactive and more. Having seen Wayne Brady improvise based on audience direction makes this production sound intriguing.”

Communopoly
Presented by Camp Schlatter
“With all the talk over the past few years about a new world order, maybe this play will finally tell us what lies ahead... or will it?”

Fringey Awards
Presented by Visi.com

In their second year, the Fringey Awards are for the best online video trailer for a Fringe show... Check out the whole dang website to see all the trailers, and here are the top five vote-getters to wet your whistle.

  1. The Quest presented by the Myth Players
  2. Batmama presented by Creatures of Fancy
  3. Communopoly presented by Camp Schlatter
  4. Prince & a Pauper presented by Andrew Fafoutakis
  5. There Is No Isabelle presented by Dylan Lamb

Kristoffer Knutson
Owner, ROBOTlove

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Kristoffer Knutson has long been a champion of the creative spirit in the Twin Cities. As proprietor of the design store ROBOTlove, he was one of the first to introduce designer toys and urban vinyl collectibles to the metro area. Now, in his additional role as Managing Director of the entertainment studio PUNY, he continues to promote and encourage breakthrough ideas through interactive and rich media platforms.

“Much like the artists featured at ROBOTlove, so many of the performances at the Fringe ride that fine line between childish and adult entertainment. And some, not so fine a line. I'm excited to see the shows that draw me in with humor and fun but spit me out on dirty jokes and creepy crawlies. And, I like puppets.”

For kids

Fartasaurus Rex
Presented by Big Blue Head
I can only imagine the guffaws and giggles that might erupt from a theater full of 9-year-olds as this visitor from the Cretaceous period lets one fly.

Paul Bunyan: An Unlikely Beginning to a Tall Tale
Presented by Black Dirt Theater
One of the most amazing examples of early "interactive" entertainment for me was visiting Paul Bunyan Land and having that giant statue greet me by name. It totally freaked me out.

Not so much for kids

Eat My Zombie Shorts
Presented by Mad Munchkin Productions
Zombies. Comedy. Puppets? I'm not expecting Bill Murray to show up but I'm sure there will be plenty of funny.

Party-Dino Til You Puke
Presented by Samuel Spadino
There's something intriguing about pretty people spewing their lunch. Plus, Party-Dino's been known to interview people in their underwear. Vulnerable!

Sally Wingert

Sally Wingert
Actor

Sally Wingert is a local actor who has worked around town for 30 years. That makes her pretty old. Right now she's in London performing in La Bete at the Comedy Theater in the West End. She can't believe it either.

Entwined
Presented by Amy Salloway
“The fact is I don't know Amy at all which makes this pick odd for me. I, too have seen the Worlds Largest Ball of Twine and I can imagine romance surrounding a road trip there. This is a gut pick with a bit of Minnesota lore.”

The Damn Audition
Presented by Joking Envelope
“Okay, this piece needs no recommendation from me, people just need to know to plan the rest of their Fringe viewing around it. These are three of the best actors in town, deeply funny people who have already mastered the ‘art of the Fringe.’ Now if they could just ditch that hack, Scrimshaw.”

Romeo and Juliet Go to Winnipeg
Presented by Laura Littleford
‘The title and blurb really intrigued me. I have been on long bus rides with fellow high school students and certainly wished I had spent the time making out. Also, I love Winnipeg.”

Theory of Mind
Presented by Mixed Blood Theatre Company
C'mon, this is a no-brainer. Bill Gates fascinates me and I want to be Sharon Jones. This is right up Mixed Blood’s alley and I suspect the audience will end up dancing.

Ballad of the Pale Fisherman
Presented by Isabel Nelson
“I saw Isabel's work in The Happy Show by Live Action Set, pure joy. I bet this will be very inventive, movement based and suitable for the whole family. And there's an accordion.”

Chris Fischbach
Associate Publisher,
Coffee House Press

A native Minnesotan and proud Minneapolitan, Chris Fischbach is the Associate Publisher of Coffee House Press, one of the area and nation’s premier literary publishers. He also serves on the Library Foundation of Hennepin County and was a member of the Minneapolis Arts Commission. He lives near Minnehaha Creek with his wife Katie and his dog Tuck.

“One of my first volunteer gigs as an adult was serving on the now-defunct neighborhood arts panel of the Minneapolis Arts Commission. It was there that I realized that not only did Minneapolis have world-class major arts institutions, but that just as important to this and any community are its smaller, more grassroots artists and arts organizations. I love the opportunity the Fringe brings to so many playwrights and actors and how a whole community gathers in support of great art.

“Looking back at this list, it’s clear that fairy tales and anything literary appeals to me—which isn’t a surprise. As for Prince, he's a kind of fairy tale, isn’t he?”

Loren Taylor
Librarian and Ultra Passer

When he is not attending Fringe Festival shows, Loren is a librarian with the Hennepin County Library. He saw his first Fringe show in 1994 at the invitation of an enthusiastic Fringer and has seen several hundred since then.

“Whether you’re attracted to shows by artists with great track records, by artists you haven’t heard of, or by artists who create shows with an unusual shape, the Fringe has a show that will work for you. I guess that’s why I like the Fringe—it reminds me of the fun of picking out books in a library.”

  1. Shows by Artists with a Great Fringe Track Record
    1. Superlatives of Excellence: A Jamboree of Breviloquent Masterworks by Josef Evans presented by Bedlam Theatre
    2. Pants on Fire presented by Allison Broeren & Mumble Mumble Productions
  2. Show by Artists Who Might be New to You
    1. Trouble in Tahiti presented by Dead Composers Society
    2. Opera Bob Presents: Riders to the Sea—A One Act Opera presented by April Hanson
  3. Shows that Appear to Have an Unusual Shape
    1. #Ringtone presented by Alan Berks and Company
  4. Shows that are a Reasonable Length
    1. Every single show in the festival
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