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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James Gerlich's reviews

Hello, I Must Be Going...
The sad end

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!


You are not going to see a better acted Fringe show. The script is also powerful, but, as performed, feels incomplete (or is maybe a condensed version of a larger work cut down to conform to the Fringe 50 minute limit?). I found it difficult to follow the time-line of the story, as though some time-line markers had been left out. That being said, I was spell-bound anyway. I found especially brilliant the fluid meaning of "Odd Man Out", that title seemlessly passing from male character to male character as the drama unfolded. I would love to see this company in a full length production.

Much Ado About Nothing (as told by Dogberry and Verges)
10 stars, if I could.

So, this is what you get if you take a Shakespeare comedy, hand it to six creative, professional, women actors, and apply the Fringe rule (60 minutes max) --- inventive brilliance! I didn't want it to end, and immediately went on-line, after the performance, to find out when I could see it again. I have seen ten shows so far this year -- some very good -- but this is the first one I want to drag friends to. If you like Shakespeare, do not miss this.

Whisper Into My Good Ear
Sad, but riveting

Two old men (played by two old men) sit on a park bench in Central Park in 1963 and talk. Sounds boring --- it's anything but! This off-Broadway resurrected one-act play is powerfully written, tightly directed, and very believably performed --- these two veteran actors know how to inhabit a character. The Strike theater is a little hard to find, but this play makes the effort worthwhile. A packed house when we were there.

Bear Eats Bear

I live near Kenwood Park and have been there many times, but never in as magical of a way as this. I admit, I resisted for the first ten minutes, or, so (it seemed kind of silly, at first), but when I decided, "ok, I'll play along" and relaxed, exhaled, and let the tape take over, I slowed down in a way I hadn't in days. The idea is so imaginative --- directors and other Fringe performers take note --- it could, if some others decide to experiment with this idea, or something equally interactive, make the Fringe an even more interesting event next year. One caveat: the more familiar you are with fairy tales and classic literature, the more enjoyable this is.

Blackout Improv

Other reviewers have well commented on what happens at the Fringe performances by this group, so I will just add what I especially appreciated about the performance --- the balance of comedy with thoughtfulness, and moments of poignancy. They are young, but they posses a maturity and confidence beyond their years; feeling no compulsion to have to strive for a laugh very 10 or 15 seconds. They are edgy sometimes, but show a genuine respect for the intelligence of their audience.

One Foot
Superb play, wrong venue

A poignant play with two superb performances; however, the venue does not work well. Much of the play takes place on, or near, the floor, so if you aren't sitting in front, you will miss a lot. Also, this is a quiet play, by design, but that makes hearing difficult if you are sitting in the back and don't have the best hearing (me : (. Still, by all means, see this if you can --- the female lead is absolutely astonishing.

Fruit Flies Like a Banana: WORLD TOUR
No lulls

Mostly, I appreciate Fringe shows that leave me with something to ponder, some new idea to consider and discuss with friends. This show is not one of those. What it is, is entertainment at it's best --- what it attempts, it does so well; hard to imagine any Fringe show could do this kind of performance better. It is very tight --- not a wasted moment --- featuring music, choreographed movement, and as good a use of the Theater in the Round space imaginable. If you are looking for something to delight the whole family --- kids, grandparents, great-grandparents --- this is it! The "Carol of the Bells" is a particular creative highlight.

Nowhere in Glass

Ok, so how to review this? I guess I'll start by saying there is no story here that makes any sense. So ..... how then 4 stars? Well, in the midst of the non-story, there are some wonderful moments ---- the acoustic, original music is compelling and catchy; the male singer/announcer is charismatic and has a good voice; the female lead had a nice stage presence, and a delightful voice; the musicians were very good together, the cellist having especially good timing; and ...... there was a well acted short bit when one of the musicians played the role of mother to the woman/girl on stage. I left wanting more music, less "story"; their song writing skills considerably exceed their play writing skills, in this performance, at least.

The Zoo Story (New Version)

I think my expectations were too high. I have heard about this one-act for years, but never had a chance to see it until now. I can now appreciate why Edward Albee wouldn't let it be performed as a one-act, and why he wanted to rewrite it. It's basically a one-character monologue, the other character being basically just a sounding board. One star off for the script. I took off a second star because, while I felt the actors did a good job, both overplayed their parts a bit too much for my taste.

Lettres et Café

Took a while to get going, but kicked in to being an energetic bit of folly and fun. Not much of a story, but lots of energetic young people who obviously enjoy performing. Could be anywhere, anytime --- only some very slight threads making any connection to post WW II Paris.

It's About Love Again This Year

There were some beautiful, and inventive, moments in these dance performances, but other sequences that were so repetitive that they became uninteresting. One of the most beautiful dances, choreographed to a an adagio from a Schubert piano sonata, was marred, for some reason, by the addition, half-way through, of a cacophony of noise and loud voices from the performers who weren't dancing. What??? All in all, the choreography seemed like a work in progress, a work in need of tightening.

Subpar Heroes
Boring, boring, boring!

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..