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 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.

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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.

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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. 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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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Subpar Heroes

By Renegade Theater Company
Created by Renegade Theater Company

Playing at Southern Theater


Sci-fi/Mystery/Horror, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer, Greater Minnesota company (outside the metro area)


Warnings: Adult language.

When a passing comet lightly irradiates some donuts, a group of friends gain trivial, insignificant powers. As evolution takes a tiny, pointless leap forward, these heroes will rise up to save their town.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages Grown-ups only (18+)


Sat, 8/5 @ 10:00pm


Mon, 8/7 @ 8:30pm


Wed, 8/9 @ 8:30pm


Fri, 8/11 @ 4:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 7:00pm

* 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.

Read the reviews

Aptly Named

by Cetius d'Raven on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 50 shows

This show was pretty meh. It survived as a three star because most of the jokes landed and I enjoyed Mr. Stofer's singing, but otherwise was looking at a two star as the acting was either too weak or too overplayed (yet insufficiently hammy) and the writing simple. As a show for kids (with the adult content removed of course), this could work quite well, but this adult was bored.

Abrupt Ending

by Dylan Olmsted on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

If someone were to tell me that this was a full length play cut down into an hour, I would absolutely believe that. It moves very fast and ends very quickly making me wonder where the time went.

That said, it's very funny and enjoyable. I don't personally like the "man rape as a joke" trope for personal reasons, but besides that, it's the type of humor I love and expect from Renegade.

Duluth Humor

by Walter Furtney on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 35 shows

After a slow start the jokes started to click the facial expressions came in sync and the last half hour was actually quite funny and enjoyable. The best line however was early in the show something about Sally's desire to be double teamed by the Property Brothers.

Bright spot in my week!

by on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

After a particularly crappy start to my week, I decided, on a whim, to take in a Fringe comedy show to lift my spirits. I dropped in on Subpar Heroes and it ended up being exactly what I needed. The absurd plot was lighthearted and fun, presented by a diverse and very talented cast. All was well done...from the lighting design to the original music to the performances that often caused me to laugh out loud! This show definitely helped me turn my frown upside down. :)

Submazing Heroes!

by Mike Toonen on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Great show with an awesome cast. I was laughing the entire time.

A pass.

by Emily Grace on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

The cast seemed nice and I believe the actors have talent, but the script was so lacking. It wasn't funny - and felt like it was being raunchy to be raunchy at some points. Also, one character has the power to force people to do things with their body and forces two characters to have sex with her...... forced sex?? no thanks. The script was just not good.

Decent show.

by Jake Garhofer on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

The show was good, funny at times, and entertaining. The actors were so good, I Just think the material and content of the show limited their full potential. The "performer" guy stood out as a star of the show as well as patty. The show left me laughing.

Laughed Through out - LOVED IT!

by Ashley Halbach on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

It's a comedy by an improv troupe, and it maintains the same wild, energetic, over-the-top type of humor you'd find at a improv show. If you can't handle some super ridiculous humor (including potty jokes), don't go. But if you're not easily offended by everything, you'll have an amazing time. Lots of good one-liners and funny physical comedy. My friends and I had a GREAT time. Laughed throughout the show and left with a big smile. Highly recommended for a comedy show at the Fringe! (I'll also seek out seeing this group next time I'm in Duluth!)

Mediocre Show For Mediocre Characters

by Adam Boutz on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

As a show that relied heavily on callbacks for humor, the beginning dragged. It eventually picks up steam and delivers on its promise, but for the most part the acting, energy, and script just never come together. Also, toilet humor *can* work, but it takes more finesse than was demonstrated here.

Potty Humor at its Finest

by Katlyn Moser on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I lived in Duluth for five years and have seriously missed Renegade when I moved to the cities. It was so nice to see that company perform again and made me truly homesick! If you are a fan of the superhero genre and love a good spoof, this show is perfect! It has the perfect combination of gross potty humor and heart (not something you see everyday!) A special shoutout to Katy Helbacka as Pam Frost. Her comedic timing is fantastic and she really stole the show!

2 people found this review helpful

Not For Me

by J. Bach on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 26 shows

Some of these actors were truly charming, but I just didn't enjoy the script. It was just silly with nothing more to it.

Quirky show

by Geoffrey Conklin on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

You won't regret this show with a great cast of characters with fantastic comic timing. I enjoyed so much about this show.

2 people found this review helpful

Don't bring the kids!

by Andy Rakerd on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

I was a fan of Renegade Theater while I lived in Duluth and was pleased to see one of their works again. This show is raunchy, yet clever, and has a surprisingly catchy theme song! The cast is both strong and energetic, and the ridiculous plot takes plenty of twists and turns. Go see it!

2 people found this review helpful

Boring, boring, boring!

by James Gerlich on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

You pays your money and you takes your chances; this show was a waste of time. Somehow these young people haven't received the news that potty humor and foul language as funny in itself went from edgy to boring about thirty years ago. The supposed pedophile "joke" about 14 year old girls was just plain gross. Some people walked out about half-way through; I was tempted to do the same, but wanted to see the whole show to be fair. I give the performers this -- they tried hard, but they had nothing to work with..

1 person found this review helpful

Sub par heros

by Tony Cuneo on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great cast and legit funny. Check it out.

2 people found this review helpful

Super Funny

by Matthias Peterson on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show was so funny! It was clever, witty and a lot of fun! A great new addition to Fringe!

2 people found this review helpful

Fun show

by Mary Hancy on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Definitely humorous but I didn't feel it was laugh out loud funny most of the time. It held my attention but for me it was not a must see.

1 person found this review helpful

"Subpar" is only in show's title

by Colin P on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show was outrageous, and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. Enough "in" pop culture jokes to keep people amused, but few enough where you miss nothing if you don't know the gags. Each player has his/her own strengths and draw -- there is not a weak cast member.

This is a talented group, and I commend each of them for their individual strengths, but they're also an incredibly polished and comfortable group. The chemistry and cooperation among the group is the strength of the performance.

I came into this show with reasonable expectations because I like comedy and donuts. I was impressed because this show is far more than that. Very well done to all involved. If you rock sunglasses behind your head, maybe skip this one.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Andy Bennett

Director / Co-writer

Andy Bennett is a writer from Duluth, Minnesota. He's the recipient of an ARAC/McKnight Artist Fellowship Grant, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and was a member of the Loft Literary Mentorship Series in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He's currently earning his MFA in Creative Writing from NYU. He's a member of the 2017 Renegade Theater Company Resident Artists and is married to Renegade's Artistic Director. Nepotism RULES!

Mary Fox

Christine Heather Gretchen Pfeiffer Stocke

Mary has acted in and around the Twin Cities and Duluth with companies including Yellow Tree Theatre, Theater Latte Da, Children's Theater Company, 7th House, Girl Friday Productions, The Playwrights Center, and Renegade Theater Company. She is very excited to be back at the Fringe! Mary's last Fringe show was "Shelley Bachberg presents: How Anne Frank and Helen Keller freed the slaves, the musical" with The Catalysts in 2013.

Andy Frye

Brian Forte

Andy Frye is a visual and performance artist based out of Minneapolis, MN. Music for Subpar Heroes written by Andy and Marcus Omeish. Recent credits include; West Side Story and A Chorus Line at The Ordway Center, The Great Work by 7th House at the Guthrie and he is currently working on the 4th season of Take It With You: Live Radio Theatre from Duluth, MN www.takeitwithyou.org. Upcoming for Andy; String and Still Dance The Stars at Yellow Tree Theatre and an original work, Dance TV. www.andyjfrye.com

Katy Helbacka

Patty Frost / Co-writer

Katy Helbacka is the Artistic Director of Renegade Theater Company in Duluth MN. When she's not directing shows, she enjoys being in them. She's very excited to be working with some of her favorite people at her very first Fringe experience.

Angie Martin

Becky Piddleson

Angie has lived (and cater-waitered!) in some of the best cities in the world including New York, London, and Duluth, Minnesota. She is a graduate of the Perpich Center for the Arts and the University of Minnesota, Duluth and has trained with the Atlantic, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Magnet Theaters in NYC. Angie is thrilled to be on stage with this amazing group of people and is very excited that two of her favorites – Renegade Theater Company and MN Fringe – have come together for this show!!

MacKenzie McCullum

Stage Manager

MacKenzie McCullum is a Duluthian-turned city girl who is thrilled to be working with her Renegade babes in their first Fringe show! She lives with her aunt and two cats and she loves you. She really means that.

Zachary Stofer

Johnny Fortune

Zachary Stofer is an award winning actor who has performed across Minnesota with the likes of the Renegade Theater Company, Yellow Tree Theatre, Wise Fool Shakespeare, and The Duluth Playhouse. He is also a featured cast member of Take It With You, Live Radio Theatre from Duluth, MN.

Carolyn Trapskin

Sally Leavitt

Carolyn Trapskin is thrilled to be on stage with her best and most talented UMD alumni friends. She has been busy playing her favorite and most challenging role parenting three kiddos and one man child. Thanks to the Fringe, Renegade, Andy, Katy, family, and lovely husband, Sam, for making this opportunity possible.

More information

Welcome to a town called Hope. Once a bastion of baked goods, the town's been on hard times since the donut plant was sold and the new owner fired the entire staff, replacing them with who knows what. Maybe robots. But, when a passing comet lightly irradiates some donuts, a group of laid-off friends gain trivial, insignificant powers.

They were down. They were out. They were one pastry away from giving up. But now, as evolution takes a tiny, pointless leap forward, these 'super' heroes will rise. They will stand united against the forces of evil. And they will use their stupid, trivial abilities to save a town called Hope.

Created and developed by the Renegade Resident Artists - a grand-funded cohort of 13 Duluth actors, directors, designers, choreographers and stage managers - this world-premiere comedy features a script from Renegade's Artistic Director, Katy Helbacka, and Andy Bennett, a Renegade Resident currently earning his MFA in Creative Writing from NYU. 

The show stars members of the Renegade Improv team, Renegade Resident Artists, and Twin Cities performers who've worked with the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Yellowtree Theater, Theater Latte Da, 7th House Theater, and starred in 2016 Fringe shows Couple Fight 2 and Take Talkback. 

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