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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Hello, I Must Be Going...

By Mercury Ninety Productions
Written by Garrett Rademacher

Playing at Theatre in the Round


Warnings: Violence.

In 1971, Groucho Marx hired as his secretary Erin Fleming. She became his companion for the next 6 years. Some say she loved him,she used him, she kept him alive, she terrorized him. They were all right.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Fri, 8/4 @ 7:00pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 1:00pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 8:30pm


Fri, 8/11 @ 4:00pm


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.

Read the reviews

Good But Not Great

by Edwin Strout on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

I would have given this 3-stars if it had not been for the amazing talent of Ari to embody the 80-year-old Groucho so well. The play is supposedly about the relationship between Groucho and Erin, but the first third of the play, or so it seemed, was about Groucho. Don't get me wrong, if Ari performed "An Evening With Groucho" word-for-word, I would pay to see that, but the time left, after a full-reenactment of a tv interview, and Ari improvising, as Groucho, for 5-8 minutes with the audience, little time was left to explore this complicated relationship. So the sudden turn from loving to abusive life partner, seemingly came out of nowhere. This has potential, and a full-length play would be a great solution. I would see that.

More than just Groucho jokes

by Little Voice on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

Often funny, but more often poignant. Brilliant performance as Groucho, and the two women playing Erin both did a fantastic job too.

I also love strudel.

by Amy Salloway on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

All I knew about this play going in was that my long-time favorite actor-writer-comedian-quirkmeister-German-philology-professor Ari Hoptman was in the cast. Nothing else. So, I was truly caught off-guard when what was seeming to be a touching and rather heart-wrenching love story turned VERY dark, VERY suddenly! It really came out of nowhere, and that, in fact, was my only real issue with the show; I'd liked to have seen the intermediary phases between where the story started and its major turning point - some justification or build to that change. I'll echo that Ari was PHENOMENAL as Groucho - unrecognizeable down to his voice. And his "This is Your Life" improv, AS Groucho, was a Fringe high point. What a gift!

Powerful play With Great Actors

by Jean Anderson on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I saw the last performance of this excellent play. So, by my first sentence you know how I feel about this play. Please let me be more specific. Garrett' script was very good, with both humor, poignancy, sadness, and shock. Ari Hoptman, as the Groucho Marx character, was superb. He had Groucho's voice, style, and ability to tell the jokes well. AND his amazing ability to do improv with audience members. And Deborah Frethem - she is a gifted and incredible actor. It was a joy watching her on stage. Her acting range is awesome. Colleen Thul was also excellent as the younger Erin. And I know we will see more of her in our theatre community. And also, David and Michael, each did wonderful in their roles. Thank you.


by Mariellen Jacobson on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 38 shows

Interesting story, fun Groucho lines, terrific performance and adlibbing by Ari Hoptman. But the pacing was pretty slow and I drowsed off at one key plot point towards the end (oops!).

Goodbye...I Didn't Want to Leave

by Douglas Stewart on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Outstanding performances in a play that needs to be fully developed into a 2-Act play. Kudos to Ari Hoptman for underplaying Groucho and not making him into a caricature. He also shows a great flair for improv in his spontaneous bantar with the audience. Good casting for the other roles as well. This is a very good Fringe show that tells a true story about Groucho Marx in the last decade of his career that I hadn't really heard about. I hated to see it end...and didn't want to leave.

1 person found this review helpful

funny and sad

by Clark Kinser on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I've been a big Marx Brothers fan nearly my entire life, so I was really looking forward to this show. I wasn't disappointed at at. All the performers were very good, especially the one playing Groucho.

1 person found this review helpful

A look into the final years of an icon

by Florence Brammer on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 41 shows

I adore the Marx Brothers and this show is a must for any Marx Bros./Groucho fan. Tight script despite covering a lot of material, great performances, nice use of venue space. Hauptman is great as Groucho, of course.

1 person found this review helpful

Hello Groucho!

by Larry Ripp on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Marx died close to 40 years ago. Now, here he is again. That Ari inhabits an icon AND creates the human being is amazing. Most people say "well sure! He was born to play Groucho." No. This twin city treasure is nothing like Groucho Marx. But then Here He Is! Alive again on stage in a wonderful, sad, absorbing and true and end of life. This is something special.

1 person found this review helpful

Incredible performances

by Mark Webb on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Wow - Ari Hoptman was perfect and amazing as Groucho, with a stellar supporting cast. The script was emotional and captivating. Highly recommended!

1 person found this review helpful

Hooray for Ari Hoptman

by Paris Kelvakis on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 19 shows

I know all the reviews here have said it already but it's worth saying again, Ari Hoptman's performance as Groucho is perfection. Mindblowing.

1 person found this review helpful


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

This show take a peek into the aging personal life of one America's original comedians. Not only did Ari give us a stellar performance as Groucho, but the supporting cast was quite good. I'm really glad I saw this! Highly recommend!

1 person found this review helpful

Musings on growing old

by Corrie Fiedler on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

Whilst there are other Fringe shows more explicitly about the sadness often inherent in growing old, this theme was central to "Hello, I must be going". Outstanding acting by both Ari and the older Erin. Though I am one of the older Fringe goers, I didn't know much about the Marx Brothers, so some interesting history as well.

2 people found this review helpful

I agree

by Walter Furtney on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 35 shows

Ari Hopman was dead solid perfect playing Groucho not as a caricature but as a real human. And just like Groucho he was funny even when he said mundane things. It was however a very sad story.

1 person found this review helpful

Ari Hoptman is Groucho!

by Janis Wrich on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Moving but funny too. And Groucho does improv with audience members! Ari Hoptman is brilliant.

2 people found this review helpful

Sheer talent

by Krispin Jacobson-Shax on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 11 shows

Ari Hoptman is an absolute marvel. There are few actors who can impersonate and physicalize Groucho so well, let alone ones who can improvise and riff like Groucho could! This script does great work exploring the private life of a fascinating man. The rest of the cast is good, but they wisely allow Ari to be the true star of the show, which he deservedly is.

It's simply astounding. The show's very good as a whole, but even on top of that, Ari Hoptman's performance must be seen to be believed. A+.

1 person found this review helpful


by Kelly M. on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Great concept and good acting.

1 person found this review helpful

Groucho is ALIVE and well at the Fr

by Craig Frethem on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Access Hollywood would have a continuing story line about Groucho and Erin Flemming's relationship if the program was running in the 1970's. Their complicated relationship is explored in this original script written for the Fringe, and brought to life by this talented ensemble. Ari Hoptman IS Groucho, including his ad lib interview with members of the audience. Must See TV (Theatre)

1 person found this review helpful

You Bet Your Life

by Anne Emily Heaney on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

...you want to see this production! The script captures the humor and pathos that was a hallmark of Groucho's comedy, and is performed impeccably by the entire cast. Ari is perfection as Groucho, and how fun to see Deborah Frethem back on a Twin Cities stage. Put this show on your schedule!

1 person found this review helpful

Its another 4 1/2

by Janis Emily Peabody on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 48 shows

Ari was incredible as Groucho, the other players were all good as well. Properties were weak, but music was well chosen.


by Jessica Lindgren on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 20 shows

I didn't recognize Ari until I saw him in the lobby following the performance - so great to see him onstage outside of Balls Cabaret. Great cast, script, and use of TRP space.

1 person found this review helpful

Love is complicated and witty to the end

by C. Neil Parsons on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This is a story best told in a fringe show. TV or film adaptations are prone to sensationalize sensitive material such as this, but Garrett Rademacher's production handles the story with grace, never becoming maudlin. It's a pleasure to spend some time with Groucho, lovingly reanimated by Ari Hoptman.

1 person found this review helpful

Ari is Awesome!

by Vicki Joan Keck on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Okay, well, the whole show is awesome; the story, the script, the performances by all the actors. But Ari Hoptman simply inhabits the role of Groucho with such mirth and pathos that it feels like you are in the room with Mr. Marx. Well Done!

1 person found this review helpful


by Matilda Ruth on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

I had no idea about this story except who Groucho Marx was. This show is educational, hilarious at times and emotional. Actors played their roles in believable fashion. Interaction with the crowd was seamless and witty. I almost thought it was scripted. This story could easily be a two hour production that I would gladly see again.

2 people found this review helpful

Groucho is alive!

by Tracy Mingus on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

This show was fun and moving. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful

One morning I shot an elephant in my pjs

by Chet Taylor on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Very moving commentary on elder abuse. And Ari nails Groucho.

Well done

by Brooke Magid Hart on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

I am not an Groucho Marx afficionado, so did not know anything about the end of his life, or his relationship with his secretary, so I learned something from this play about him. Ari Hoptman is always a reason to see any Fringe show that he is in. This one has a strong cast along with him. Note: if you don't want to know what is going to happen before the play begins, don't read the back of the program until it is over, and then it won't be worth reading. It was definitely a spoiler!

The sad end

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

The sad end to Groucho's life is difficult to watch, at times, but partly that's because it's so well done in this production. It was a clever idea to have two actresses playing the secretary/agent role; that worked well. It was an even cleverer idea to improvise, unannounced, a segment of "You Bet Your Life" --- a risky idea that paid off hilariously well. Good job!

2 people found this review helpful


by Jane Owens on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The cast was incredible and made us feel a part of it. We felt many emotions throughout the performance. Definitely a must see!

1 person found this review helpful


by Tracy Stearman on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great show! Would love to see it again!!

1 person found this review helpful

I'm Just Mad About Ari

by Reid Gagle on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Ari is a local treasure, and we get to see him too rarely. Him doing a role like the aged Groucho Marx is even more of a draw. It really worked well.

The play itself is a bit of a downer, but it does reveal some poignant history that I hadn't known about. Also, the transition from our initially liking Erin and sympathizing with her, to the opposite was too abrupt.

Still, it's a good show, well worth seeing.

By the way, I'm also looking forward to seeing the Fringe show whose title comes from a Groucho quote, "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

1 person found this review helpful


by Theresa Rahn on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Truly felt the emotions through the characters, enjoyed the infusion of improve. Worth seeing!

1 person found this review helpful


by Gordon Stecklein on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Tragic story told with humor and compassion. Ari Hoptman (Groucho) and Deborah Frethem (Erin) give particularly compelling performances and Hoptman's brief improvisation is worth admission alone.

3 people found this review helpful

Great Show - Must See!!

by John Venzke on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Very funny. Ari Hoptman was brilliant. The whole casts was wonderful. If you go to any show as part of the MN Fringe, this is a must see.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Ari Hoptman

Groucho Marx

Ari Hoptman is an actor and playwright who has performed with numerous groups in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. Among his many roles are Felix Ungar in The Odd Couple, would-be lover Barney Cashman in "Last of the Red-Hot Lovers," Paul Verall in "Born Yesterday," Aaronow in Glengarry Glen Ross, and Mushnik in "Little Shop of Horrors." He also played Arlen in the 2009 Coen Brothers film "A Serious Man." When not acting he can be found teaching German at the University of Minnesota, or to anyone who will listen. He doesn't like coffee.

Deborah Jane Frethem

Erin Fleming ( at 62 years old)

Originally from the Twin Cities, Deborah performed at several local theatres many years ago, including TRP, Lakeshore Players, Morris Park Players, and Bloomington Civic Theatre. In 2004, she moved to Gulfport, Florida, and she is now lucky enough to spend her summers living with her husband, Craig, on a houseboat on the Mississippi River. Not quite retired, she is the author of three books published by History Press and a tour guide at the Wabasha Street Caves, where she portrays historic characters, including Nina Clifford, the infamous madame, in the St. Paul Gangster Tour.

Colleen Thul

Erin Fleming ( in her early thirties)

Colleen Thul is an actress in the Twin Cities area who has just graduated from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona with a Bachelor's degree in Theatre. This is her first appearance in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Among her past roles are Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing", Mrs. Antrobus in "The Skin of Our Teeth", Rona Lisa Perretti in "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee", and Jelena in "Necessary Targets". Besides performance, Colleen also pursues stage management and is looking forward to developing her career in the Twin Cities.

David Schlosser

nurse at homeless shelter/ Michael, the cook

David Schlosser is happy to be back at the Fringe Festival. A local actor, writer, and director, he has worked throughout the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, appearing on the stages of many companies including : Theater Pro Rata, Theater in the Round, Theater Unbound, The Flower Shop Project, Teatro Del Pueblo, Pioneer Place Players, and Park Square. David has also directed for Joking Apart Theater, Freshwater Theater's 2011 Festival of Awkward Moments, and Cromulent Shakespeare Company. David thas also written and performed two one-person shows- "Screwed" and "Their Century."

Michael Anthony Border

talk show host/ attorney

Michael Anthony Border is new to the Minnesota Fringe Festival, but certainly not to theatre. He has performed in such shows as "My Fair Lady" and "A Lion in Winter" at the Phipps Center, "Out of Sight Out of Murder" at Corcoran Park, and "Guys and Dolls" at Heritage Theatre , to name just a few. He is also had his hand in directing shows , from "The Music Man" to "Noises Off" to "Arsenic and Old Lace."

Garrett Rademacher

writer/ director

This is Garrett's third Fringe show as a writer/director, acting in about six Fringe shows over the years. Having been away from the stage for the last six years (concentrating all of his energies into being a grandfather), he was most anxious to mount this show, with 2017 being 40 years since the death of Groucho Marx. Theaters that he has worked in throughout the years include Heritage Theater, Theater in the Round, Lyric Arts in Anoka, Bloomington Civic Theatre, and many more. Many thanks to his wife, Esther, for the love and support throughout the years.

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