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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Ariel Lopez's reviews

The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Haunting and lovely

Less a story about spiritualism than one about siblings - the occult, alcoholism, and each sister's romances are really framed in how they affect the sisterly relationship (which I enjoyed). I love this kind of theater - creative directing which is perfectly suited to the subject and serves the narrative. Compelling performances all around, and good use of the arena stage. Highly recommend.

The Pursuit of Awesome
Pulled a muscle laughing

Great stage presence, and takes his own advice to commit 117% The show felt very well constructed, segueing in entertaining ways, and each piece set up the next perfectly. Even though the show was primarily comedic, it had an inspirational yet honest aspect as well.

BOOMBOX.
Crushed it!

Wonderfully Fringy abstract comedy about modern life. Hannah gave a consummate comedic performance, with face and body language that seemed perfectly crafted to each character she portrayed. While I think she would have made just about anything funny, the material was solid and oddly thought-provoking at times. Two minor criticisms: one, the show is on the short side and it felt like there was probably some more that could have been developed, and two, the shtick of the boombox didn't really add anything or matter much to the show and wasn't used or played with as much as it could have been, given that it's the title of the piece. Overall, highly recommend.

Spy in the House of Men: A One-Woman Show With Balls
Heartfelt and entertaining

Being true to oneself can be a rather cliche, or even cloying theme, but Penny Stirling's honest stories of coming out as transgender are an engaging and often hysterical take on the subject. The show is a little rough around the edges (perhaps because it the director's first show); e.g. the shifts between times and characters could have been better delineated, the section titlecards were distracting. Overall enjoyable, interesting, and worth seeing.

Songs of MN Summer
So much fun

I mean, it's an improvised musical, what's not to love? All three members of the Shrieking Harpies are stalwarts of the MN improv scene, and they're experience shows. I do wish they would ditch the handheld mics, which were distracting visually, and didn't work well for the spoken portions of the show. If for some bizarre reason the idea of an improvised musical doesn't fill you with joy, I suppose you can pass, but otherwise highly recommend Songs of MN Summer.

Knifeslingin'!
Doesn't take own advice; is not the crap

Motz wonderfully inhabits the role of knifeslinging Ted "Critter" Montana (the name pretty much says it all). Delivers laughs a-plenty, and manages to comment on violence without being preachy or simplistic, or detracting from the comedy.

Blackout Improv
Great socially-conscious comedy

If you're into the Improv scene here, you'll probably be familiar with Blackout's format, and they stick to the tried-and-true for their Fringe show: audience suggestions for topics are pulled from a hat are discussed seriously, and then they riff on the discussions in short improv scenes. A special guest adds to the fun. These are talented and thoughtful improvisors, and will keep you both thinking and laughing.

F@*k the 90s
Laughter and tears

Be aware that this is not typical storytelling-one-person show; F@*k the 90s is a very conversational and intimate performance. Mame says that she aims for 'radical presence,' which creates a different vibe than most shows dealing with similar subject material - and while there are humorous moments, the subject matter overall is pretty heavy. As long as you're okay with the serious topic and informal 'radically present' style, I think this is a piece worth seeing, but I wouldn't recommend for everyone.

[Enter the Narrator]
Clever and fun

Alright, I was a little skeptical (and not just because the description says not to see the show), but the premise works quite charmingly. There are a few moments that sag a little, but overly a fun and funny play.

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
Hokey Creepy Fun

This show is absolutely oozing with talent, but for me at least, seeing a show designed to be heard just didn't make great theater. What could have been suspenseful moments were often killed by the silliness of watching the performers make the sound effects. It's a fun show, but I think I'll just check out the podcast.

DUNGEON
(really cool) flash without substance

Five stars for the technical and physical theater, but I feel like those elements deserved a stronger narrative. They definitely captured an old school video-game dungeon crawl tone and aesthetic, but those games are not great spectator events. If amazing visual theater is enough for you go see this play; I wanted more story.

Flyer Guy
Funny but needs some work

David's an engaging performer (which is why this is 3 rather than 2 stars), but the material is rather thin - he oversells a lot of the jokes, and feels like he's stretching out the anecdotes he tells to fill the time slot. Times Square life is not something I know much about, so the topic was at least novel and interesting to me, but that's not enough itself to be really entertaining. There were some real laugh-out-loud moments, but not enough for an hour-long comedy show.

Lettres et Café
Very cute; very cliche

You've seen this show before, whether as a rom-com film or in sitcom plot. The staging is rather cluttered and could probably benefit from cutting a role or two. It's not great theater, but gosh darn is it adorable enough for me to use words like "gosh darn." Not my typical fare, but the cast sold it hard enough to at least thaw my cynical heart a bit. This is the Fringe show to bring that friend (you know the one) who only watches romantic comedies.

Be Your Selfie!
Good concept; not enough there there

Fun performances make this show worth watching - I enjoyed the caricatured contrast of how we construct online personas, and the interplay of video and live acting. Unfortunately, the show takes way too long setting up the conflict (the last third was much better), and the "be yourself" message was a little after-school special for my taste.

Songs for a Post-Apocalyptic World
Good music, but. . .

In the opening number, a character finds an American flag and a US history book, and feels deeply inspired by these things. I'm honestly not sure how ironic the intent for this was, because although the show claims to "explore existential questions" there really isn't much exploration, just some random non-contextualized and undeveloped ideas. And OK, magnetic genitals was pretty clearly just for fun and didn't need much explanation, but there badly needed to be some signposts for the audience in other places. The band and vocalists were talented and enjoyable, but I couldn't wait for the scenes to end and get back to the music.

The Tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Dramatized fan theory - Needs work.

The show is essentially two parts; reimaginings of the movies' scenes, and characters monologues. There are a few genuinely charming and funny parts of the show - R2D2 most notably; more seriously, Leia's monologue has some interesting points. Especially by Fringe standards, the costumes were great, and really evoked the original movies. Otherwise, the script is bogged down by belabored monologues which don't advance the plot, and jokes we've all heard before. I like the concept, but needs some serious reworking of the script.

Facebook Lite
They said it: bland, boring benign.

The chuckle-worthy jokes in the program is the only material the show has, and they amateurishly repeat it for an hour. There is a half-hearted attempt at political commentary at the end, but it seems like they are trying to address modern internet discourse while falling victim to their own critique and being afraid to actually say anything.

The Summoning
Just fell flat

I wish I could give more specific feedback, but the show just wasn't funny. Except for the entertaining Angela Fox as Ms. Larvaz, the cast didn't really seem to believe in the play, the story wasn't very compelling, and the jokes didn't land. All in all, the Summoning just didn't work.


Ariel Lopez's Queue

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The Banana Wars

by The Miller Conspiracy

Strike Theater  

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Bear Eats Bear

by The Last Grizzly

Kenwood Community Center  

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Blackout Improv

by Rogues Gallery Arts

Phoenix  

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BOOMBOX.

by Hannah Starr

Bryant-Lake Bowl  

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Couple Fight 3: Weddings!

by Weggel-Reed Productions

Rarig Thrust  

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Dame daDA & the Meta Show

by Nichole Hamilton

Ritz Studio  

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DUNGEON

by Hit the Lights! Theater Co.

Jungle Theater  

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Knifeslingin'!

by The Theatre Cosmic

HUGE  

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The Last Bombardment

by Oncoming Productions

Ritz Mainstage  

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The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox

by The Winding Sheet Outfit

Rarig Arena  

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Mine/Field

by Glade Dance Collective

Ritz Mainstage  

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Never Wonder Land

by Laughing Nomad Productions

Crane  

Westside VW
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Out of the Shadows

by Gabriel Mata/Movements

Intermedia  

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The Pursuit of Awesome

by Northstarter Productions

Intermedia  

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Queen of Delicious Animals

by The Rachel Teagle Effect

Strike Theater  

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Sevlin & Devlin Presents: Seven Evans in Heave...

by Ferrari McSpeedy Theatrical Productions

Ritz Studio  

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Skins

by Collective Unconscious Performance

Ritz Mainstage  

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Songs of MN Summer

by Shrieking Harpies

Bryant-Lake Bowl  

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Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL

by Turd Spout Productions

Phoenix  

Red Stag Supperclub