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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Showtimes

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.

Reservations

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.

Rules

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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Edwin Strout's reviews

The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Beautiful, Poetic, Moving!

You don't see this kind of show at Fringe very often, so make sure that you see it. So well-crafted by every member of the cast and crew! A wonderfully strong and emotional show! I knew a little about the Fox Sisters, but this is a take on the emotional side of what these two early spiritualists went through. Such nuanced and strong performances from this all-female cast. I was engaged every second of the way.

Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL
A Must See

Do I need to give a review for Tom Reed??? Just go see it. He is a master at retelling pop-culture stories in a humorous and insightful way. You will laugh, realize major plot errors in the story that you watched/read and didn't realize at the time, as well as be wrapped up in the storytelling. Fun. Fun. Fun.

The Best of All Possible Worlds
A Master Storyteller

You might be inhibited by the description, but DON'T be! David Mann keeps it light, funny, entertaining, but, most importantly, honest. You will be engaged in this show for every minute of his story. I have never been more entertained by a man telling an autobiographical story of the dissolution of his marriage and his hopes of achieving the American Dream. Kudos also to the director, Sarah Gioia.

Live From New York, He's A Prom Date!
Painfully and Hilariously True!

Go see this show! You will not be disappointed. All of this happened and she has the video tape to prove it! Wonderfully told by an excellent actor. Kudos also to the director.

Fruit Flies Like a Banana: WORLD TOUR
If You See Any Show In Fringe...

This is the show you need to see during Fringe. These are unbelievably talented musicians/dancers/performers who make what they do seem effortless. The fact that each piece is done through random choice via the audience makes each show unique, and unforgettable.

A Mermaid Abroad & A Fish Out of Water
Make Time To See This Show

These two storytellers have had multiple Fringe shows, and their mutual talents, as well as their different styles meld together extremely well. I hope that they will continue to work together. You will be engaged for the entire confessional of both performers.

On The Exhale
Wow.

This one-woman show was written by a multiple award winning playwright, and then performed by one the best actors in the Twin Cities. Not to give anything away, the single-story play is split into three acts. The first act is the humorous setup, the second act takes an unexpected dramatic twist, and then the third act goes in a direction that you never expect. Kudos to the actor being able to pull this off believably, and the director who helped her achieve that touchstone.

Themselves They Made Immaculate: Clara Barton at Andersonville
Do You Think You Know US History?

This is an amazing piece of work, AND it is just the actual word-for-word reiteration from the transcript before Congress. Please see this.

Intermediate Physical Comedy for Advanced Beginners
Harkens Back To Silent Film Comedians

Not a word is uttered in this show. You will find it utterly hilarious. These two seasoned, comedic actors embody the silent film era comedians, such as Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd. Great slapstick as well as pathos. A Must See.

Spec
I Wish That You Could See This Show!

Unfortunately, the show is over. The theme of the show is to lift yourself up over the petty details of your every day life and see life for what it is. Done in a very indirect way. Ben San Del is a master storyteller, and nothing could dispel you from this fact then seeing this show. Unfortunately, that isn't an option at this point. You missed it. Hope for a remount.

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
Unbelievable!

It is incredibly hard to believe that these are radio-plays from the 40s and 50s - So Macabre! And Twisted! Well done with the music and sound effects, as well. A super fun time!

DUNGEON
Blown Away!

I cannot think of a better way to have ended MN Fringe Festival than with this show! A practically filled house, as well, which is incredible for an Encore performance, and I could see why! All the rave reviews were correct. This show, this talented group of actors/musicians/puppeteers/physical-performers (each one seemingly all-of-the-above) was so well worth seeing! I hope that they are able to return to the Twin Cities soon.

Couple Fight 3: Weddings!
A Must See

Incredibly talented storytellers/comedians/actors who are married to each other tell hysterically true events and arguments to do with their weddings. Not shy about making themselves or loved ones look idiotic. I laughed so much during this show! Go see it!

The Wright Stuff, or You'll Believe They Can Fly!
Why should I even write a review?

You're going to go see a Josh Carson/Andy Kraft show anyway, right??? It's fast-paced, full of so many jokes that you miss about a fourth of them because you were laughing at the last one, the chemistry between the two leads is always fantastic, and they hire equally competent comedic actors to accompany them! My only complaint is that this year, the chorus of three singers were usually hard to hear when singing individually, and I missed half of the jokes written into their songs, and I was only a few rows away from the stage. Fix this odd quirk and you would get a 5 star review. But again, Josh Carson/Andy Kraft show, are you not already planning on seeing it???

There Ain't No More!
Worth Your Time

I would have given this a 3-star review, but the energy, talent and skill of this actor was magnificent. The show? I felt very disengaged. I felt myself drifting into my own thoughts. I was unsure what to take away from this show. Other people in the audience seemed to love it, so I may be entirely in the minority, but I just couldn't get into this one. But, once again, this man's talent is worth seeing.

Lettres et Café
A Very Good Adaptation

Good cast, good use of the theater in the round space, good props and costumes. Also, a good job of condensing the original source material into less-than-an-hour. I did have a hard time hearing some of the actors. I wasn't blown away by this production, but I was very much engaged for the whole performance. Well done all.

Hello, I Must Be Going...
Good But Not Great

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.

Knifeslingin'!
A Very Good Show!

Okay, very distracted by the fact that his special guest star couldn't pronounce the word "indictment"!!! Motz, if you need someone to help you, please, call on me, as I will know the script, not verbatim, but at least I would know how to pronounce the words that you have written. Motz performance is amazing, as always. Go to see this show because of him, and not whomever he has wrangled to read the script with him.

The Last Bombardment
A Good First Draft/Performance

This is a hit-and-miss show. The pantomime of village life is very effective in its repetition. The characters are distinct from the actors who have to play many multiple roles. The show needs more of a build. The set-up for the first third of the show starts to slow towards the end of the first act. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is more of a ratcheting up of the stakes. As well as a distinction between different characters reactions to what is happening in this small town. One never sees the build to the eventual horrific decision of the characters. But there are plenty of horrific moments, especially in the second act of the show. Keep working on this potentially horrifying show, this could be great.

The Fainting Room
Hit And Miss, But The Hits Are Great!

This show has its ups-and-downs, but is definitely worth your time! Make time to see it.

The Banana Wars
Educational And Witty

If you want a good education on USA's involvement with Central America, see this show! You will not be disappointed. Easy to follow, as well as, how-the-hell-do-I-not-know-this-already educational part of the show is priceless. Well worth making a time slot for.

Swords & Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign
A Fun and Unexpected Romp

While not all of this show fired on all cylinders, I was engaged throughout, and I may creep back into the future shows to see where this adventure goes. No need for understanding Dungeon & Dragons is required to enjoy this show.

Hot Air
Utter Silliness, But In A Good Way

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.

The Summoning
Nice Attempt

Good effort from a first time producer and writer and director, so I don't want to discourage them from keeping at it. It's difficult, and we all get better the more that we do it. Actors need to pick up their cues, characters need to be more filled out, the stakes need to be higher, and a few other things. Again, a good first effort, but not overall entertaining. There were two actors who stood out.


Bryant Lake Bowl