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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Code: L-O-V-E

By Highlander Kitty
Written by Jenna Papke

Playing at Crane Theater


Warnings: Violence, Adult language.

It's 1943. Meet Cynthia Debrett, she's brilliant at espionage, but terrible at relationships. Fighting fascism is easy. Coping with a breaking heart, much more difficult. Inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac.

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


Sat, 8/5 @ 8:30pm


Sun, 8/6 @ 2:30pm


Tue, 8/8 @ 10:00pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 5:30pm


Sun, 8/13 @ 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

Good Idea

by Bradley Johnson on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Liked the concept, but the execution was poor. Was hoping I'd really love it.

Good old-fashioned drama

by Alex Yang on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Though I'm somehow still not familiar with Cyrano, the story held its own in this retelling. Despite a few moments that walk the line on melodrama, as well as some underdeveloped subplots, the script and the cast are tight and the simple design elements are effective.

More than a little flower of eloquence

by Jenny Eisenbraun on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

If you are in love with Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (and if you have a soul, it's likely you are), please go see Code: L_O_V_E . I was delighted at how smoothly Cyrano's world translated into the 1940s spy setting, and it very subtly followed the original, dropping here and there some of Rostand's own stirring words. With the gender swapping, we see entirely new perspectives on classic characters, particularly with Robie (nee Roxanne). A the same time, Jenna Papke has composed something entirely original and fresh. The performances were deftly executed, notably those of Megan Rene Guidry and Ethan Bjelland, bringing realism, humor, and atmosphere to the romantic drama, and Meredith Kind who indeed gained a white plume in her cap!

Cool adaptation

by Andy Rakerd on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

I loved this retelling of Cyrano with a modern backdrop and a fair bit of gender-swapping. It's cleverly executed, and well-written and acted.

Strong Cyrano Adaptation

by Cetius d'Raven on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 50 shows

A strong cast and skilled writing make this one of the better adaptations of Cyrano de Bergerac I've seen.

1 person found this review helpful

Well Done and Enticing

by Berit Johnson on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

A very well-written show-- the cast and story were very strong. Some directing choices hurt the focus, but I believe this could be developed into a full production. The actor who played Cynthia was particularly strong. Highly recommended!

Sweet romance

by Richelle Amundson on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 39 shows

I like a good romance and this show met that need. I was captivated by the story and performance.

Had me hooked!

by Siarde EvansChristoffer on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

All characters were VERY solid, story sucked me in! Everything had a very nice flow to it. The classic espionage moments were great! Definitely a must see!

The Spy Who Friendzoned Me

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

A drama of love triangles and the codes we speak to each other. The story leaned especially hard on tropes, but the cast leaned into the roles making for an overwrought, but touching performance. A handful of unnecessary plot holes hold this show back from being more than just 'pretty good', but there is little else fundamentally wrong here.

Sweet and Solid

by Diane Hellekson on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

While the preview had me expecting something more comedic, this sweet and solid drama kept me engaged. Lovely acting, nifty costumes and a smooth script allowed me to forget the fact that the set constituted nothing but a desk, chair and doorway, and to forgive some jarringly campy moments (mostly the double-agent). Even a highly critical 15-year-old enjoyed it!

Nice Retelling from Great Actors

by Jeffrey Guion on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

I thought this was a very nice retelling out the story Cyrano de Bergerac. It does a great job of transferring it to WWII, helped along by the very talented cast and crew.

Solid, but dry...

by Christopher Allen on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

The script is decent and the story fun. Though with its camp and serious turns, it can't seem to decide whether it's a comedy or drama. The scenes can also feel a little dry and lengthy. Nonetheless, a solidly put together production. I enjoyed myself.

"Kind"a fantastic

by Bailey Hess on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 29 shows

I usually don't like war dramas, only because I don't follow the stern, transatlantic, jargon heavy dialogue. It took me a little bit to warm up to this show, but by the end I was thoroughly entertained. The love story was truly compelling, even though I wasn't in love with the setting. Meredith Kind was fantastic. She stole the show.

Glad to break this code

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

Wonderfully acted, good story, great costuming. Ethan Bjelland is a doppelganger of Matthew Crawley from Downton and that was (pleasingly) distracting.... Good show!

Great performances

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

Great performances brings this show to the next level. This is a great take on a classic.

Fun noir!

by Chris Madsen on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

A fun retelling of Cyrano set in a 1940s spy game. Well-acted, a little campy, but earnest and entertaining.

Compelling story and great acting!

by Kim Chase-Kozak on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

I don't always love drama at the Fringe, but I did with this show. Compelling play on Cyrano de Bergerac! Beautifully acted.

On the paint smell, we walked inside the door and stood there for a couple minutes while the previous show was clearing out. The smell was very strong near the entrance and I was worried. But once I got further in the building it was totally fine and I didn't think about it again through the 2 shows I watched. Just thought I'd put that out there.

Great Acting, Compelling Story

by Konrad Case on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Hats off to the actors of this show!
Especially the three lovers! I also liked the homage to the classic CYRANO and Jenna Papke deserves props for spinning a compelling tale.

1 person found this review helpful

Something different

by Allan Lundquist on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Hard to explain without giving away too much. I found it strangely compelling, and felt considerable empathy for the main characters.

1 person found this review helpful

love and espionage

by Eric Meininger on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 31 shows

A story of unrequited love and loss during wartime. Well acted. I enjoyed it, but wouldn't rave about it.

Cast and crew

Jenna Papke

Playwright & Director

This is the first play Jenna has written since High School, but the 20th she's directed.

Andrea Nicholson

Stage Manager

Meredith Kind

Cynthia Debrett

Megan Rene Guidry

Christine Neuville

Megan enjoys balancing both being a person and an actor. In her free time, she enjoys standing outside staring into the sun. For this show, Megan is excited to retell an old story in an awesome way!

Ethan Bjelland

Robin Bell

So thrilled to be reunited with this cast and script since we workshopped this a year and a half ago! Ethan wears many hats in the Twin Cities theatre community and local Nordic cultural communities. As an actor, he's worked with companies such as nimbus Theatre, Theatre Pro Rata, Classical Actors Ensemble, Shadow Horse Theatre, Theatre 20%, and most recently, as Helena in Phoenix Theatre's Burning Ember Production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' This Fringe, Ethan is also performing as YouTube sensation, TMI Kai in 'Be Your Selfie,' a story of unrequited self-love; and as Special Agent Kit Truman in the '80s action flick retelling of 'Watership Down,' called 'Full Metal Rabbit.'

Katie Starks

Dolores Compton

Katie Starks has a passion for historical fiction and kick ass female leads, so this show has her heart. Katie is a proud company member of Freshwater Theatre and has been participating in the Fringe for 14 years.

Robb Krueger

Lawrence Compton

Robb Krueger is devilishly excited to return to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He wrote the music and lyrics for 2011's "Robot Lincoln: The Revengeance" and 2013's children's musical "Shine." In 2014 he created the role of Jim McDonough in Andy Gullikson's "The Confederate" and acted in Ryan Thorsen's "#relationshipstatus." In 2015 he appeared in "The Consolation" and narrated the children's show "Baby Carrot." He graduated from MSU Mankato in 2013 with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting and has worked throughout the Twin Cities as an actor, composer, arranger, and lyricist. Robb makes killer cheesecake and has invented several questionable but highly intoxicating cocktails. In his spare time he collapses.

Mickaylee Shaughnessy

Agent Valenti

Mickaylee Shaughnessy has been acting professionally in the Twin Cities for over a decade. . After Fringe she will be in the "Velvet Swing" with Savage Umbrella and Green T Production's "Frankenstein".

More information

It's 1943 and the War wages across the sea as a small band of extraordinary female espionage agents work out of Washington DC to save the World. 

The Agency's brightest star is Cynthia Debrett, a fearless agent, devoted friend, and hopeless lover. It's an open secret in the office that Cynthia is in love with her childhood friend and the Agency's premier code-breaker, Robin Bell, who is the only one who can't see it. Cynthia is content with the status quo, but into the picture comes a new female agent. She captures Robin's attention and gets Cynthia to help her flirt with him. 

But while all's fair in love and war, war tends to take priority. Office romances are great, but what happens when the office becomes the front? 

Based on Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Rostand, this is a Fringe-length version of Love is Never a Lie, originally produced at Phoenix in February 2016. 

Humble Cup