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!

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Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With 850 performances of 167 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.

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Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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.

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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. Pro tip: 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.

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Choosing a Show

With 850 performances of 167 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.

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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 go live mid-November on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, all shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Attend: Thanks to the new day pass system, attending Fringe is easier and cheaper than ever.

Volunteer: Our 400+ 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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.

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Box Office Info

Pass + Token = Your Admission

Everyone needs a valid pass to see a show. In addition to your pass, you will receive a token at the venue which guarantees you a seat. Turn in your token to the usher when you enter the theater.

More information about passes and policies here.


Optional reservations guarantee a seat for a particular performance and can be purchased online in advance. You must also have a valid to get in. Day passes can be bought online with a reservation to save time, and can be picked up at the venue box office 30 minutes before the performance.

More information about reservations here.


For everyone's safety, Fringe does not allow late seating or re-admission. Photos and video are prohibited without written permission from the production staff. Fringe cannot provide refunds or exchanges.

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Wellstone: A Minnesotan Musical

By Albino Squirrel
Written by Bryn Tanner

Playing at U of M Rarig Center Thrust


Just so you know, this show contains Adult language.

In the midst of a bruising re-election campaign, Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone copes with both a debilitating illness and a corrupt Washington, D.C. in this new musical featuring five original songs.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12-15 and up


Sat, 8/5 @ 5:30pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 8:30pm
Audio described


Mon, 8/7 @ 7:00pm


Wed, 8/9 @ 10:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 5:30pm
ASL interpreted

* 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.

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Cast and crew

Michael Turner

Paul Wellstone

Michael Turner is a recent BFA Acting graduate from Minnesota State Universty, Mankato. He has performed in productions of Avenue Q (North Hennepin), The Foreigner (Mankato), and The Oresteia (Hero Now Theatre). After a year's hiatus from acting, Michael is thrilled to dive back into it in this production!

Cayla Marie Wolpers

Sheila Wellstone

Cayla Marie has been acting since the age of eight. She has always wanted to make a difference in people's lives through theatre, and she believes that with hard work and determination, she can achieve that goal. Cayla studied Musical Theatre at Drake University and graduated Cum Laude with a B.F.A. degree in Musical Theatre. She also received Departmental Honors. Cayla Marie has been performing in the Twin Cities for several years now; working with many theatre companies such as Open Window Theatre, Pioneer Place Theatre, and CLIMB Theatre. http://caylamarie07.wixsite.com/caylamarie

Christof Krumenacker

Stephen Wellstone

Christof is a junior in Musical Theatre at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. He is extremely excited to be participating in his first Fringe Festival production. It has been a dream of his to partake in this amazing festival. Some of his favorite roles he has played are Man #2 (Jacques Bre...), Dennis (All Shook Up), and Pippin (Pippin). He would like to give a shoutout to his family, the boiz, and to his peeps in Point!

Rachel Lawhead

Hillary Clinton

Rachel Lawhead is excited to be a part of her first Minnesota Fringe show! She is a rising junior at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor Training Program. Her past favorite roles have been Guiderius in Cymbeline, Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret and Sandra in Big Fish. Thanks to her family, Alex, friends, and company.

Jason Millsap

Norm Coleman

Jason is thrilled to be making his MN Fringe debut with Albino Squirrel. Jason has been seen around the Twin Cities at Artistry MN and Bethel Summer Theatre. A graduate of Drake University, Jason would like to thank his friends and family for their support. Enjoy the show!

Carter Roeske


This is Carter's 3rd production with Albino Squirrel having previously directed "A Mariokart Named Desire" as well as stage managed and designed "Pocahontas (Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Mouse)." Carter studied theatre at North Hennepin Community College and Iowa State University. He would like to thank the cast, crew, and all of our backers for helping make this show happen. Extra special thanks goes to Mike Ricci and NHCC for providing us with a space to rehearse and being generally supportive of our company throughout the years!

Elise Santa

Musical Director

Elise is thrilled to be music directing in her first Minnesota Fringe show. As a music director for Lyric Arts, her most recent productions include Urinetown, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She holds a BM from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and teaches piano within her private studio.

Bryn Tanner


Bryn is excited to be back at Fringe Festival with his third original musical. He's previously written "A Mariokart Named Desire," written and performed in "Pocahontas (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mouse)" and performed in "In Watermelon Sugar." A graduate from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Bryn has performed all around the Twin Cities and directed several shows for Sibley East Senior High in Arlington, MN. He would like to thank his family, friends, his girlfriend Aimee and his mentor Mike for their support. "How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world."

Zach Miller


Zach is pleased as punch to be working on his second Albino Squirrel show. His experience is mostly with acting, but as an aspiring jack-of-all-trades, he has been thrilled to dive into composition; especially for such a relevant and important piece. "Big thanks to Elise, for interpreting and enhancing my intentions, and as always, to Bryn for trusting my vision (and his own). Enjoy the show!"

Emily Carlisle

Stage Manager

Emily is delighted to return as Stage Manager for Albino Squirrel Productions. She studied theatre at Anoka Ramsey Community College and interned for three summers with Door Shakespeare. She'd like to thank her wife and friends for their support and encouragement.

Nik Carlisle


Nik is excited to make her designing debut with Albino Squirrel Productions. In the past she has designed props for productions at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, including acting as lead props designer for their production of Harvey. She has also assisted with costumes on numerous productions. She would like to thank her wife and the rest of her family for their continuous support.

More information

United States Senator from Minnesota, Paul Wellstone is in for the fight of his life. Eleven years after his first election in 1990, where he promised he would only serve two terms in office, the country's political landscape is shocked by the events of 9/11, and the various political establishments seek to politicize the event for their own gains. Complicating matters is his increasingly distant relationship with his wife and family, battling not only his brother's mental illness but his own physical illness, and insecurities over his legacy and contributions to the world.

Join us for a musical retrospective in the style of RENT, Hamilton and Next to Normal, reflecting on the life and times of Paul, often referred to as the "conscience of the Senate" for his steadfast belief in honesty, hope and fairness for all. Featuring five original musical numbers from the team that brought you "A Mariokart Named Desire," Fringe Festival's Audience Choice winner of 2016 for Strike Theatre, and one-half of the team that brought you "Pocahontas (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mouse)," chosen for Freshwater Theatre's fourth annual Fringe Festival remount in 2015. 

DISCLAIMER: This play is a fictionalized account of the life of Paul Wellstone. While great care has been given to ensure respect towards Paul and his family, some artistic license has been taken with the events and people portrayed in the show.


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