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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Playwrights on a Train

Written by Kevin Bowen and James Lundy

Playing at U of M Rarig Center Thrust


Just so you know, this show contains Adult language.

Hitch a ride on the 20th Century Limited express train, where a chance meeting between two playwrights, Hyman Gaines and Antonia Brunowski spells murder, mystery and mayhem, in this psychological thriller-noir.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Fri, 8/4 @ 5:30pm


Sat, 8/5 @ 10:00pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 5:30pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 7:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 4:00pm

* 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

Bill Marshall

Playwright Hyman Gaines


Bill is appearing in his second Minnesota Fringe Festival. He has been seen on various Twin Cities stages with favored roles including, Max Bialystock in The Producers, Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden and Padraig Bones in The Red Tureen. His recent concert work includes principal performances of Messiah, Carmina Burana, Elijah and others with various symphonies.

Caroline Vodacek

Playwright Antonia Brunowski


I am a student at the University of Minnesota, studying Studio Art and English, though I also am involved in the university's theater. I've been Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Detective Cole in "Stop Kiss," and James in "James and the Giant Peach," which was my first time working with Sara! This is my first time participating in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and it has been an incredible experience so far. When I'm not on the stage or in the studio, I like to be outside or working on my writing.

M. Scott Taulman

Officer Frankie Benedetta


M. Scott is a Twin-Cities based Actor/Massage Therapist/Stay-At-Home Dad with a passion for good documentaries and ice-cream. Scott has tread the stages of such local theater companies as Girl Friday Productions, The Old Log, Flying Pig Theatre, The Minnesota Shakespeare Project, Cerulean Productions, The Paul Bunyan Playhouse and The Minnesota Jewish Theater. Some of Scott's out of state credits include performing at American Players Theater, The Madison Rep, The Festival Theater of Oxford Mississippi, The Chamber Theater of Milwaukee, Saint Croix Festival Theater and Bridgework Theater of Goshen Indiana. He can be seen in the soon to be released Indie film Anthony Lost and Found and a few other locally shot indie movies. Scott is thrilled to be back at the Minnesota Fringe Festival with this group of very talented and fun people ...

Anna Olson

Meredith Gaines


Anna is pleased to be working with TROMPE L'OEIL again at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. She has performed in many local productions including Terra Nova with Hero Now Theater, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, at Theater in the Round, The Tempest with Public Dreams Theater, Macbeth and Three Women Wearing the Same Dress at Chameleon Theater Circle, Biography at Park Square Theater and Modern Orthodox, The Triangle Factory Fire Project and The Action Against Sol Schumann at Minnesota Jewish Theater. Anna holds a BA with a Drama emphasis from San Francisco State University.

Jack Squier

Officer Eddie Donovan


Jack is an English and Theatre Major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. This is his first year participating in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Previous roles have included Lysander in the University of Minnesota Morris's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the Old Man in "James and the Giant Peach" also at UMM.

Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha



Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha is thrilled to be returning to the Minnesota Fringe Festival as the Director of Playwright's on a Train. Sara's written and produced other Fringe shows including 11:11 and Thick Chick. She has also directed The Forger's Apprentice and Flushing New York at the Fringe, and is also acting in this year's The Perils of Steve. She holds an MFA in Acting from MSU Mankato, and has taught for Northern State University and University of Minnesota Morris. Sara can usually be found directing something, teaching something, and gushing about the wonders of her husband and her cat in between the teaching and directing.

Maggie Caplan

Assistant Director/Stage Manager


Originally from Madison, WI, Maggie is about to start her junior year at the University of Minnesota Morris, where she studies theatre and sociology. This is her first time at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and she's very excited to be here! Some of her favorite past roles include Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Thompson in The Cashier, and DePinna in You Can't Take It With You.

Kevin Bowen



Kevin Bowen is a playwright and songwriter living in Eagan, Minnesota. He also works as a professional graphic designer at Bowen Design (www.kevinbowendesign.com), which he started and has operated since 1995. He is a member of the Playwright’s Center and the Minnesota Association of Songwriters where he is currently serving as their Treasurer. His plays and musicals have been produced and staged throughout Minnesota. This is his sixth original Minnesota Fringe Festival play. Previous Fringe Festival plays included: "The Non-Producers" in 2016, "The Oracle" in 2015, co-written & co-produced with Lynn Bowen & Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha, "Flushing New York" in 2014, co-written & co-produced with Lynn Bowen,"The Forger's Apprentice" in 2013, co-written & co-produced with Mark Forgy, and "The Red Tureen" (musical) in 2009, a Pioneer Press "Must See" show and the 6th most popular play (based on tickets sold) out of 162 shows, co-written & co-produced with James Lundy. Including other non-Fringe productions, this marks his ninth stage production in eight years. Kevin is thrilled to be part of this amazing team: Director Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha, Assistant Director/Stage Manager Maggie Caplan, our talented cast: Bill Marshall, Caroline Vodacek, M. Scott Taulman, Anna Olson, Jack Squire, and our crew: Tim Colby & Composer Martha Davis. And of course, the wonderful folks at The Minnesota Fringe Festival. None of this would be possible without the boundless support of his loving family.

For more information about any of these completed plays or the new works, please email Kevin at: tctheater@gmail.com

James Lundy



Timothy Colby



Tim is proud to be part of another great Kevin Bowen created production. Tim's artistic talents created the set pieces used in "Playwrights on a Train"

Martha Davis

Music Composer

When she is not composing, Martha Davis is a sought after piano and composition teacher in Eagan, Minnesota with numerous award winning students. She also works at Macalester College as Department Coordinator for the Department of German and Russian Studies. In 2013, Martha composed the music for "The Forger's Apprentice" written by Mark Forgy and Kevin Bowen. In the summer of 2011, Martha created the entire score for the full-length remount of "The Red Tureen," adding additional music that was not in the original 2009 Minnesota Fringe Festival version with music by Kevin Bowen. The show, performed by The Eat Street Players had a successful run in June 2011. When she is not working she is playing with her seven year old and four year old grandsons, Jack and Jason, three year old granddaughter Elayna, and new 7 month old granddaughter Samantha.

Greg Parmeter

Fight Choreography


More information


A note from the playwright:

The original concept for our new murder mystery called “Playwrights on a Train” appeared as the result of a conversation James Lundy and I had about a year ago, where he provided me feedback on a script I’d written for last year’s Fringe Festival (The Non-Producers). During our conversation, we came to two mutual conclusions: 1) There would be some great material to write about if only we could use our own families as the basis for our stories. 2) That would probably get us into some serious hot water with the relevant parties if we did so. What followed was the suggestion that perhaps he and I should swap family stories for script ideas, since then neither family would be the wiser. That idea then lead us to the notion of “criss cross,” which naturally opened the door to a discussion about our favorite Hitchcock films.


While it’s true Hitchcock’s classic film “Strangers on a Train” created a jumping off point for our play, this story goes down an entirely different track. In many ways, however, we’ve stayed true to the traditional murder mystery format, while at the same time creating a new trope by asking the question “What kinds of stories would Hitchcock tell today, if he were still alive?


I'm very excited to be working with some old friends again on this production (Jim, Sara, Bill, Scott, Anna, Tim & Martha) as well as making some new ones (Caroline, Maggie, Jack & Greg). We all hope you will have as much fun with this new production as we did in putting it together.


— Kevin Bowen, Playwright/Producer



A little background information:


The oath of the Detection Club:

Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?


According to Wikipedia: “The Detection Club was formed in 1930 by a group of British mystery writers, including Agatha Christie. There was a fanciful initiation ritual with an oath probably written by either G. K. Chesterton or Dorothy L. Sayers, and the club held regular dinner meetings in London. In addition to meeting for dinners and helping each other with technical aspects in their individual writings, the members of the club agreed to adhere to a code of ethics in their writing to give the reader a fair chance at guessing the guilty party. These fair-play "rules" were summarized by one of the members, although they were never intended as more than guidelines, and not all the members took them seriously. 





SPECIAL THANKS TO: Readers; Megan Bones, Graham Waltz, Lynn Bowen, Linda Waltz. Fight Choreography: Professor Greg Parmeter, UW La Crosse. St. Peders Lutheran Church. Photography by http://www.istockphoto.com . Sound effects by http://www.freesfx.co.uk . Videography: Chris Deutsch, Carson Brooks and of course, the Volunteers and Staff at the Minnesota Fringe Festival!


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