About Minnesota Fringe

There is one big thing that makes Fringe different from any other event in town: All the shows you'll see at Fringe were selected randomly by lottery.

Yep. That's right. Each year the lineup is crafted by placing numbered ping-pong balls into a bingo cage and drawing them out, one by one. From stage veterans to people who are brand new to theater, Minnesota Fringe is a forum for anyone with a story to tell. We also provide the necessary support to make producing a show as easy as possible, regardless of where you land on the artistic spectrum.

Anyone (yes, anyone) can apply to have a show in the festival. If you'd like to have a show in our next festival, applications will go live in November here on our website. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a reminder as well as information about other theater events happening around town.

The mission of the Minnesota Fringe is to promote creative freedom and diversity of artistic expression by linking adventurous artists with adventurous audiences. Thank you for joining in this adventure!

Close this


Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows in just 11 days, we have to run a tight schedule to avoid descending into chaos. Performances are no more than 60 minutes long with a half hour between each show.

On weekdays shows begin at 5:30pm, 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm. On weekends there are additional shows at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Late seating: There is NO LATE SEATING at Minnesota Fringe. In addition to keeping our schedule, late seating is a safety issue for artists and audiences.

Safety for artists: Some of our theaters require that patrons walk across parts of the stage to reach the seating area, and many of our production companies’ stage work encompasses entrances and exits from the house.

Safety for audiences: Entering a darkened theater, possibly for the first time, and trying to find open seats puts patrons and volunteers at unnecessary risk.

Close this

Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, serves as the late-night watering hole for artists, staff, volunteers and audience members alike. Come in after a day full of shows to grab a beer and some bar food. Talk about what you loved and what you didn’t. Meet the artists behind the scenes and actors on the stage. Find out what you should see tomorrow or dream up your own idea for next year. You never know what will happen during Fringe, but dropping by Fringe Central gives you a serious head start.

Close this

What to Wear

Shorts and a t-shirt. Seriously. Also, a pair of comfy shoes will serve you well in case you have to wait in line. Most Fringe shows take place indoors in air-conditioned venues, so having a layer to throw on in case you get chilly is also advisable.

Close this

Choosing a Show

With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows, it's scandalous to see just one. But how to choose the perfect lineup?

Search by genre: You can filter for genres when trying to decide what to see.

Talk to people: It only sounds scary. Just look for the folks in lanyards. Lanyards are worn by Fringe artists and there are at least a thousand of them dying to tell you about their show.

Read and write reviews: See what audiences are raving about on our audience review page, then return the favor and let others know what you thought.

Close this

Get Involved

Fringe isn't just a festival - it's a community, and it couldn't exist without people like you.

Create: Applications for the 2018 festival will are live on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Volunteer: Our volunteers are near and dear to our hearts and make our festival go, so we shower them with lots of love and complimentary seats! Sign up for a shift now!

Socialize: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, for a beer, a burger and maybe even some late-night shenanigans.

Support: Help us create Minnesota's Summer Theater Crawl by donating to or sponsoring our annual festival. Gifts of any size make a large contribution to our ability to meet our mission.

Close this

Box Office Info

Pass, Reservations, and Tickets, Oh My!

In 2018, Fringe will still offer passes but is also re-introducing single tickets options to see shows. We are re-tooling our Box Office policies to reflect our changes. Please check back for more information in the spring.

Close this




Whisper Into My Good Ear

By Vintage Players
Written by William Hanley

Playing at Strike Theater


Warnings: Sexual Content.

Pat O'Brien (of Underneath the Lintel fame) and 40 year stage veteran Larry Ripp team up in this classic one act that has been garnering 5 star reviews and "Best of the Fest" awards across the US and Canada.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Thu, 8/3 @ 10:00pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 4:00pm


Mon, 8/7 @ 5:30pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 7:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 2:30pm

* Reservations not required, but a Day Pass is. Find out more below.

Ticket Options

Day Passes are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends. Day Passes serve as entry to any show in the festival on a given day. Optional reservations to guarantee a seat for a particular performance are available by clicking the "reserve" button above. Day Passes can be purchased in advance with a reservation or at any venue box office during the festival.

Weekdays 1pm-3pm and Weekends 11am-1pm we'll also open an Alternative Box Office at Fringe Central so you can grab a Day Pass and skip the lines at the venue before the show.

Day Passes for kids 12 and under are available at any box office during the festival just $5 every day.

A 2017 Fringe button isn't required for entry, but it does get you access! Wearing it not only identifies you as a part of a fabulous Fringe community, it also entitles you to special deals at local bars and restaurants and access to reduced ticket prices at various theaters throughout the year. Get your 2017 Fringe button for only $4 at any Fringe preview event or Fringe venue during the festival.

Read the reviews

Well done but very dark

by Janis Emily Peabody on August 16, 2017
This user has reviewed 48 shows

Acting was phenomenal, but why couldn't there have been more movement? It was painful to watch in a good way.

Powerful but slow

by Mark Webb on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Although the actors are both fine performers, I found this one to be slow and fairly predictable.

Heartwarming and Heartbreaking

by Rosalie Langenkamp on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

This production has a very simple setting. It is two elderly gentlemen sitting on a park bench. Because of this, it makes you concentrate on every word said. The trust and love between these men really engaged me. Both actors played their parts to the hilt.
Larry being the outgoing on was believable, but not overdone. Pat, on the other hand, was the reticent one. He made me feel like I was walking in his shoes. He played the role to a tee. Sometimes funny, but mostly serious drama. I highly recommend it.


by Bailey H. on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 29 shows

This show put me right in the middle of the park where these men sat. I didn't feel like I was watching theatre, I was listening in on their conversation. Honestly, at times I felt chilly, solely because they were acting as though it was winter so well, that I believed it was winter. I wanted to reach out and comfort them both. It's a relatable show and moving to watch.

Master Class

by Kari Elizabeth Godfrey on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

If you have ever taking an acting class, the first thing you learn is that 'acting is reacting'. This show was a master class on that lesson. Lawrence and Pat are able to create a beautiful world for themselves, simply by sitting on a bench and listening to each other. Truthful, simplistic, and engaging. Both actors played well off each other-an honest balance of emotional vs. cerebral. I love when I can watch an actor just "be" in a moment, and see it in their eyes, what is going on in their mind. It is a rare gift and both these actors have it. Completely deserving of the standing ovation.


by James Detmar on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

2 people. 1 park bench. This sweet little examination of the journey from cradle to the edge of grave, is in the extremely capable hands of Patrick O'Brien and Larry Ripp. O'Brien, in particular, shows why he is one of the finest actors in the Twin Cities. Studied and nuanced, without ever traipsing carelessly into the absurd, the typical nor the expected. Ripp, gives one of the most complete performances I've seen from this actor. He is the perfect foil to O'Brien... big, loud and yet, small and pained. You've one last chance to see this show. Do yourself a favor. Go.

Fringe At Its Finest

by Bradley Johnson on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Larry and Pat give stellar performances in this touching piece. This is definitely worth seeing and one of the top shows at this years Fringe! Only one show left!

Standing ovation

by Valerie Salley on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I was compelled to stand up after this moving performance - along with the rest of the audience! Beautiful glimpse of how any one of us may meet the challenge of aging. The two actors are stellar!

A Great Script Beautifully Performed

by Derek Lavertu on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

As much as I enjoy the more offbeat Fringe offerings, it's such a pleasure to see classic one-acts like this done by real pros. By the end of the hour I felt like I knew both of these men and both liked them and found them frustrating. There are some big laughs in the show, and by the end I was close to tears. If you enjoy no-frills theatrical storytelling that's all about the writing and the performances, do your best to make the last performance.

All to real

by Richard Heise on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 25 shows

A bit chilling after you find out the premise of the two men'S encounter. Well done. I would highly recommend it.

Sad, but riveting

by James Gerlich on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

Two old men (played by two old men) sit on a park bench in Central Park in 1963 and talk. Sounds boring --- it's anything but! This off-Broadway resurrected one-act play is powerfully written, tightly directed, and very believably performed --- these two veteran actors know how to inhabit a character. The Strike theater is a little hard to find, but this play makes the effort worthwhile. A packed house when we were there.

Searing script, powerful performances

by Florence Brammer on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 41 shows

This is simply top-quality theatre: an amazingly moving and poignant script with powerful, uber-skilled performances. You could hear a pin drop during the last ten minutes. This script is full of insights into both the profundities and the minutiae that make up a life, and beautifully merges tragedy and humor. Just wonderful and not to be missed.

Holy Cow!

by Kelly Regan on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 10 shows

This show hit me right in the gut! Both actors were incredible and the show was beautiful, painful, and fascinating. Enjoyed it wholeheartedly!

Philosophical one-act, well acted

by Corrie Fiedler on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

When is life not worth living? Is there a point at which loneliness, despair, physical limitations, and secrets become too much. Lawrence Ripp and Pat O'Brien articulate two different answers to this question. Though there is only conversation and no action, the acting caused me to be completely engaged. If serious drama is your thing, this is highly recommended.

Good, but not for everyone

by Eric Cohen on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 19 shows

Excellent acting, good script, but no action and no real surprises. Just an exploration of the emotions of age.


by Eric Meininger on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 31 shows

It's amazing the power secrets have over us. Two skilled actors and a park bench and the chemistry is made. It takes some time to understand the context, but by the end you feel like you know the two characters and where to look them up. Recommended.

Powerful acting; predictable script.

by David Gutsche on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

O'Brien and Ripp's chemistry was rock solid, and they understood and inhabited their characters in a highly convincing manner. However, the script (and the plot in general) felt tired, and held the show back a bit. That being said, if you're into minimal-set one-acts that feature a couple brilliant older actors, this show is something you should at least consider.


by Sam Ahern on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

A master class in acting from Lawrence Ripp and Pat O'Brien, two very different but equally magnetic performers, playing two very different but equally magnetic characters in a beautiful show. Truly, my only problem with this show was that I wanted to spend more time with these men! A treasure and a can't-miss.

Heartbreakingly Good

by Kara Greshwalk on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

What a beautiful show about loneliness, aging, and the despair that comes with feeling invisible. Even if those themes don't resonate with you, the masterful performances of Lawrence Ripp and Pat O'Brien will--long after you leave the theater.

Brilliant performances, great script

by Little Voice on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

Perfectly contained one-act play, with two lonely, old guys on a park bench. The script is sharply observed, funny at times and poignant without being sappy. Brilliant performances by the two actors.

Whisper Into My Good Ear

by Bobbi Pauling on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Okay consider that I was going on not enough sleep and my hearing is not the best, and then consider that O'Brien was supposed to be a low-key kind of guy. For the role, he did a good job, but for me it was difficult, so I asked some people who came down from the last row, and they said no problem hearing. So take this for what it's worth considering the above, I wish O'Brien would have had a bit more umphf, even with the role he was portraying. There is a thread going through the story, which did not work right for me in the end, and could have used a different title. I can't say more without doing the bad usher thing, and I know many liked this show. It is addressing an important theme, but I thought that could have been developed more.

1 person found this review helpful

If you liked Zoo Story this is for you!

by Vicki Joan Keck on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Like Zoo Story, this is a great drama about 2 guys on a park bench,one gregarious, one reserved. Lawrence Ripp and Patrick O'Brien have great chemistry and are both stellar actors who give us nuanced characters who we can empathize with. For those who love straight up, solid theatre, this one is for you!

Loved this show!

by Rebecca Brorson on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Must see. Acting is phenomenal.

Just go!

by Michael Mayket on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Two class acts acting classily. Just go!


by Suzanne Burke on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Really beautifully done. Life, death, aging, human connection, regrets, and reflecting on a life well--or not well--lived are all themes here. This is an honest and poignant play.

Two characters who are friends of mine

by Max Hailperin on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Yes, these two characters, not actors, are people I'm glad to have as friends. As to the actors, they did a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life. Life is beautiful, even when it turns ugly.

Drama Must See

by Randa Schollmeyer on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Moving and powerful, this show had me spellbound. Acting, writing, directing - all superb. But it's the honest, intimate, sometimes raw look into the lives of these two men that will stick with me for a long time.

Stellar Performance, Simple Piece

by Adam Boutz on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

A tour de force of superb acting. The story is minimalist and so are the men it is about. It is a one-note tale that, in any other hands, might have dragged. Instead, the simplicity the story served as a bank canvass for the actors to fill with pure charisma and emotion. And fill it they did. The actors embraced the dichotomy of their roles; one brooding, the other boisterous. Together they occupied the positive and negative mental spaces.

Whisper in My Good Ear

by Michael Peterson on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

A couple of great actors showing how it should be done.

Absolutely absorbing

by Mariellen Jacobson on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 38 shows

Two old guys, one extroverted, one introverted, sitting on a park bench talking about life, love, people, experiences, memories, mangos, tomorrow. Tight script, fabulous performances. DO NOT MISS IT!

Outstanding! Thoughtful!

by Katherine Schilling on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This is a top notch show. An intimate and captivating script performed by two veteran professionals. Both performances were personal, memorable portrayals. Stellar acting. The audience was rapt for the entire hour.

This is one of those shows that you feel so lucky to have happened into at the Fringe! See it!

2 people found this review helpful

An outstanding Acting Duet

by Steven Lavigne on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Larry Ripp and Patrick Thomas O'Brien burn up the stage in William Henley's two-hander, Whisper into My Good Ear. I've seen this play before, but this is a better production, because, while Ripp is big and commands attention, O'Brien rightly underplays his character. It's a comedic drama about two elderly men contemplating the end of life one winter afternoon in Central Park. The Strike Theater space is small and perfect for this play. While the locale is off the beaten path, and not entirely easy to get to, it's worth it for this outstanding acting duet. Don't miss it!

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Pat O'Brien

Max / Director

Pat O’Brien, (previous fringe shows: "Underneath the Lintel" and "The Fever") returned to Minneapolis ten years ago after 22 years in L.A. where he appeared in dozens of films, including: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Pleasantville, Stuart Little, Catch Me If You Can. He guest starred in dozens of TV shows and had recurring roles on: Night Court, Married with Children, Sabrina, and Saved By The Bell (Mr. Dewey). His national stage credits include the New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles Shakespeare Festivals; The Pasadena, Cleveland, and La Jolla Playhouses; The Arizona Theatre Company, The Old Globe, and The Arena Stage. Locally he's performed at the Guthrie, Yellow Tree, Chan, Old Log, and Mixed Blood

Lawrence Ripp


Larry is a former radio announcer from Wisconsin who has been active in Twin Cities theater for 38 years as an actor, producer, writer and director. His previous Fringe shows include "Hans The Obscure" "Fish Stories", "Skywatch" and "The Twisted Grin." In addition to "Whisper" Larry is appearing this year in "William and Mary, The Way Out Experiment" also at Strike Theater. Finally, Larry is very active as "Sir Sydney Soapington" The Baron Of Bubble! an interactive performance art/act popular at Renaissance Festivals, birthday parties, block parties and festivals throughout Minnesota and the 4 state area. Check out his facebook page "The Baron Of Bubble!"

Eide Bailly
Eide Bailly