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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Hot Air

Directed by Nick Saxton

Playing at U of M Rarig Center Xperimental


Warnings: Adult language, Short show length.

The year: 1945. The city: Los Angeles. The murder: COLD BLOODED. Follow the two most incompetent detectives the world of film noir has ever seen as they solve murders, fight off puppets, and eat sno cones.

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


Thu, 8/3 @ 8:30pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 10:00pm


Tue, 8/8 @ 7:00pm
High sell-out risk


Fri, 8/11 @ 8:30pm
Limited sales at door


Sun, 8/13 @ 1:00pm
Limited sales at door

* 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

Sharp and well styled

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

This was a great show with incredible use of lighting effects and a wonderful script. If you could understand it. Often lines were delivered too quickly. They were inaudible and the actors had poor annunciation. For me this meant that it was hard to follow the action and plot, even though I really did try.

Hot Air

by Linda Albertson on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This was a delight. The jokes are fast and furious and you need to keep up. The actors are simply adorable and fun to spend time with. Fun night of goofy theatre- just what the doctor ordered for me.

Inspired Mayhem! Zany Writing!!

by Pap McCoy on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

What sets this show apart is the joyful commitment given to this irreverent celebration of goofiness. The audience is treated to an ingenious blending of the familiar and the new resulting in a hybrid style all its own, that makes the whole show feel cleverly modern and yet as delightfully random


by Cate Jackson on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 12 shows

Absolutely perfectly hysterical! This is worth the reservation fee. Its no surprise this is a sell out. High energy that never stops. My cheeks hurt from constant laughter.

Breath of Hot Fresh Air

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

Noir parodies are derivative nonsense, amiright? It's literallly the easiest genre to parody (I'm looking at you, French New Wave), and the hardest to have a unique take on it. Schmagency Inc. took it on, riffed on irrelevant topics, and godDANGIT they did it well. I had to go to the bathroom the entire time and was waiting for a lull and it never came. The cast and crew delivered this with non-stop monologues and quips that was the best 45 minutes of my Fringe experience. I hope they find a way to capture the energy of this to live beyond this week. #kennedyjokes


by Tram Nguyen on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The script itself was very well-written. The subtle yet witty remarks, comments, and actions were well planned and well executed. Every single line had a purpose.

The acting was nothing short of SPECTACULAR. Every single actor brought an element that just made the show all the better. They enjoyed the stage and it showed! AWESOME EXPERIENCE!!!

Appealing and funny but

by Timothy Mahoney on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

I admire this crew, they really do have the comic gift. The one problem was that every single line was shouted. There was no nuance, and sometimes comedy got lost because the audience did not have time to absorb what was being said. It was like going to a symphony orchestra that played Beethoven double-time, with every note at max volume. I'm glad I saw the show, and I'm only sorry that it didn't quite live up to its potential. Better pacing and a nuanced delivery would have elevated this show to genius.

Go to this show if you want to laugh

by Jacob Guzior on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

It's really simple- this is an hour of just laughing. The plot moves really quickly but makes sense, all the actors are investing to the point of sweating buckets, and the film noir setting is cool. Also its film noir sort of like if Will Arnett was doing a mockery of the genre. Be sure to reserve tickets though because this show sells out

A must-see.

by Jackson Cobb on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Such a great show - it had me laughing absolutely the whole time! The writing, direction, and comedic timing are all impeccable, and they're executed by an amazingly talented cast. The use of shadows is very effective, and the live jazz pianist is so good. If you're in the mood to see a hilarious show done extremely well, don't miss Hot Air!

A Tree Full Of Gags That Needs Pruning

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

Hot Air almost cracks the code for a hilarious and absurd noir parody. The shadow puppetry in particular gave this the feel of a sharply-executed and high production value show. The physical humor especially was something to behold. Unfortunately, there was just too much of everything else.
Too much energy.
Too many jokes.
Too many murders.
Too much frantic yelling.
Reel it back it just a tiny bit and this could be fantastic. I know this to be true, because the best bits in this show are the subtle gags that no one onstage acknowledges.

2 people found this review helpful

Laugh Till You Cry!

by Charlie DeCoursey on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This play covers every cheesy, hilarious trope imagined that shows up in detective shows. The jokes are smart, well-thought out, and expertly delivered by the cast. Get ready for an hour's worth of gut wrenching laughs, confusing romance, and witty banter from the two most incompetent detectives this side of the Mississippi. If you love or hate murder-mysteries, this play is for you!

Utter Silliness, But In A Good Way

by Edwin Strout on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

Missed a joke because you were laughing at the last one? Don't worry, wait ten seconds, the next one is coming shortly. Utter silliness with a dose of meta-theatricality, which only adds to the humor. I loved the use of shadow, well, you wouldn't call it puppetry because it is done by people not puppets, never mind, it works. I do have to admit that there were a couple of actors who couldn't live up to the noir-style and/or breakneck-pacing, but it didn't matter as the rest of the cast made up for it.

Witty from start to finish

by David Immen on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Hot Air is a must see in this years Fringe Festival. Outrageous humor accompanied by clever uses of lighting as well as live piano made for one heck of a show. Each performer brought something different to the table with varied types of quirky humor. The young cast worked seamlessly together. Highly recommend!!

Tons of Fun

by Julie Elizabeth on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Outrageous, Obnoxious and Hysterical for all the right reasons. This show will have you laughing from start to finish.
Great comedic timing, and a creative use of shadows and backstage technical effects.
A bit loud (especially for the front row), a few sloppily executed moments and the ending felt a bit deflated, but overall, a stellar performance.
A must-see for all lovers of jazz music, over the top dramatics, and bit comedy.

Bees on your knees!

by Harry Uxley on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

Edge of your seat physical comedy. Good timing & coordination among actors. Plot deflated a bit.

A Barrage of Comedy Gold

by Elliott Gore on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show if filled with incredible jokes. It kept me constantly laughing and had me always on the lookout for a subtle, clever joke. I got swept up in the old school, noir-style of the show as I followed along to the fast-paced story. The cast was fantastic delivering hilarious lines with fantastic timing as well as providing some hilarious physical comedy. Great use of music and creative imagery through the use of shadows. This was a truly fun show from beginning to end. STRONGLY RECOMMEND.

Film noir has never been funnier

by Chris Shea on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Hot Air is an amazing show. The writing is extremely witty and every character's delivery was spot on. My personal favorite bit in the whole show is the hidden subplot hinting to what happens on a certain November day in 1963.

From beginning to end, I don't think there was a moment where I was not laughing during this show. I would definitely see it again.


by Michelle Castro on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I had never seen good comedy until this show. This play not only tickles your funny bone, but it'll caress it and take it out to dinner too!! The cast played up the classic noir tropes! The crew was dedicated! The writing was top notch!! From beginning to end, I was on the edge of my seat...gasping for air and wiping the tears from my eyes. The only thing hard to understand was how the cast didn't break every time something funny was said! TRULY professional. I wish I could see it again and again! Do yourself a favor and see this show!

1 person found this review helpful

A Must See.

by Holly Peterson on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 18 shows

This is one of the best shows I've seen so far this year. The writing is great and the actors maintain breakneck energy for the entire show. Visually, their use of light and shadow are really interesting and allows them to change scenes quickly and effectively. The story is an over the top (in a good way) buddy comedy that sources physical humor, word play, visual jokes, and the downright ridiculous. I had so much fun for the entire show. I cannot recommend this one strongly enough.

2 people found this review helpful

Don't Forget your EAR PLUGS

by Bradley Johnson on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

I was so hoping this show would have been better and maybe it would have been if I could of sat farther back. The constant screaming made it at times really hard to understand what they were saying and I really didn't get the sense it was 1945.

2 people found this review helpful


by Richelle Amundson on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 39 shows

I really want to like this show more, even as I continue to reflect. The speed of delivery; the use of light, shadow, and physical comedy all appealed, but in the end it was loud and hard to follow. With some polishing, it could be a gem.

1 person found this review helpful

Thoroughly enjoyable

by Cole Estrem on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

The show can be a little hard to follow at times and confusing if you do not let go of your assumptions of what is normal, reasonable and realistic.
Very, very funny, though a couple of moments may have been drawn out slightly too long.
Excellant use of the space, and effective use of shadow projections.

1 person found this review helpful

What's All The Fuss About?

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

Vastly overrated. Lots of shouting, some of it incomprehensible; lots of frenzy, for no particular reason; and nonstop attempts at humor, almost all of it unfunny.

1 person found this review helpful

More than just hot air

by Tim Lagoon on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The comedic timing and use of shadows were absolutely incredible. I wasn't sure what to expect when I walked in and from start to finish I couldn't stop laughing. 10/10 must see

1 person found this review helpful

Absurd and Hilarious

by Daniel Sachs on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

A very well-rehearsed play that had great comedic timing by the whole cast! Left me gasping for breath after every joke.

3 people found this review helpful


by Joseph Lowe on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I was thoroughly impressed with this crew of artists. This is a Fringe must see!

2 people found this review helpful


by Julie Hubbard on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Hilarious from the start, the cast sets a relentless pace delivering a wonderfully written, brilliantly directed play for your enjoyment. Do not miss this !

3 people found this review helpful

Sold out! Now I know why.

by Paul Saxton on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Brilliantly written, directed and performed. I will go again thats how much i liked it. This play is full of energy.

2 people found this review helpful

Cold-blooded fun!

by Ellen Reynolds on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I saw Hot Air last night and woke up laughing still, so I guess I owe this show a review. This is a film-noir 1940s style whodunnit with a pair of boneheaded detectives. The jokes came so fast I need to see it again to hear all the jokes I missed from laughing so hard! The acting is spot-on. And no sno-cones were harmed in the making of this play.

1 person found this review helpful

Loved this

by Dick Sandberg on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Loved the use of shadows and the bizarre characters. Great stage presence for some actors. Looking forward to what else they can do.

1 person found this review helpful

Would see again and again.

by Kelsey Warner on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Exceptionally witty writing. Outstanding directing and acting. The cast had great chemistry on stage, while each character maintained their own unique and strange identity. I found myself hooked on the plot and laughing the entire time. This show is full of hilarity, mystery, and latex balloons—I highly recommend it!

2 people found this review helpful

Hilarious and funny

by Dennis Friedman on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Show funny and quick moving. Writing and acting was outstanding. Would certainly see it again

1 person found this review helpful

Perfect Noir-Farce

by Matt Saxe on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 10 shows

This young cast does an extraordinary job hitting all the classic noir tropes in this hysterical sendup of the genre. Bitter detectives, ex-partners (in more ways than one), suspicious murders, impatient police chiefs, chases, fights, damn good coffee, over the top interrogations, double-crosses, its all there and its all done with razor sharp comic timing and wonderful visual effects using a very crucial spotlight and screen to create shadow performances that are a delight. All accompanied with live music that really captures the style and era of this case and adds to the atmosphere. Highly enjoyable work by this talented cast and crew.

3 people found this review helpful

Absurd But Good

by Jennifer de Fiebre on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

The premise was funny, the use of shadows was brilliant, the lighting technique was perfect, the technical aspects of the show were amazing. The show is short (which was probably a good thing), which is helpful if you are trying to rush to a subsequent show. While enjoyed the (intentional) over-acting, it did start to wear thin towards the end. I would still recommend the show, but it will not be one of my favorites of the season.

ridiculously funny!

by Melanie McCully on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Brilliantly directed. A remedy for the times, like that favorite farcical dream you want to return to. The audience walked out glowing.

1 person found this review helpful

Constant laughter throughout.

by Anthony Metcalfe on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

It's an onslaught of humor. The storyline is surprisingly good for what I thought would be more a smattering of jokes, but it's clear that the writer & director know what they're doing. There were quite a few moments when I couldn't stop laughing.

1 person found this review helpful

Snow Cones and Balloons

by Taylor McGurran on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

A well produced show that had me laughing at every turn, Hot Air was an amazing performance! The team of performers and workers did extraordinarily well working with such a small set and set the mood for each scene with some sharp wit and loads of laughter. I would definitely see this show again!!

1 person found this review helpful

It's going to be unique, dumb experience

by Joe Allen on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Title: MN Daily, Nick Saxton.

I'm not sure what's up with the resurgence of David Zucker/Leslie Nielsen/Sheep Theatre style of humor that inspires this group of brilliant of young actors, but the jokes fly so fast it doesn't matter if you don't laugh at half of them, because within seconds you're laughing at the next - or still laughing from a cerebral, subtle, under-the-radar absurdity that slow worms its way into your head while the actors press on.

This show is relentless and clever. It's stupid and childish. It's full of joy, and only slightly full of itself.

Shout-out to Emily Wrolson for being a smoldering genius, and the near-certain bruises on an actors' chest.

Bonus points for my favorite subtle subplot of the night 11/22/1963

1 person found this review helpful


by Ben Rauzi on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show was exceptional! Very funny and well written. Quick paced and witty from start to finish, making use of what little set was needed. Acting was phenomenal, particularly from the two leads. Would see it again.

An absolutely ridiculous, joyous romp

by Caleb Rotman on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Ridiculously funny, frantically paced, and damn-near flawlessly executed. Lots of extremely memorable and hilarious lines.

Fun and absurd

by Eric Cohen on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 19 shows

A lot of fun, a send up of the noir genre and its tropes. A bit too non sequitur for me in the middle, but quite fun. Good use of lights, music, and shadow puppets.

Cast and crew

Emily Wrolson

Ruth McDonough

Andrew Friedman

Mike Norco

Bianca Nkwonta


Madeleine Rowe


Jake Mierva

Busboy, Photographer

Steven Kreager

Robert Saxton

Austen Fisher


Fletcher Wolfe

Writer, Shadow Actor

Nick Saxton

Director, Train Man

More information

The year: 1945. The City: Los Angeles. The Murder: Cold blooded. No matter what Ruth McDonough does, her past keeps catching up to her. Every lover she’s ever had has been murdered by the serial killer known as the Balloonman. And the same night that the Balloonman kills her fiance, Ruth’s former partner Juniper Callahan returns to the town for the first time in 3 years. Callahan claims she’s looking for her new partner, Orson Wolfe, who’s gone missing. Is she telling the truth? Can there be this many crimes in one city? Have there been too many names thrown at you? Only Ruth and her partner, Mike Norco, can answer these questions once and for all. Follow them on their journey as they encounter villains, run along the top of a moving train, fight off puppets, eat sno cones, and learn about the art of film photography. All this and more in this original play.

Ghoulish Delights
Two Bettys