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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Gnarles Xavier

Years attending Fringe: 2-4 years
25-34 years old
Lives in... Minneapolis
Favorite genre: Something Different

Gnarles Xavier's reviews

Sean Neely
5 Stars = 1 Gold Star

You're not doing yourselves any favors by avoiding this one or writing it off as a shock piece. It isn't; I can't for the life of me see why this was pulled from the festival last year, as I have seen some actually offensive things put on stage. Sean's piece, whether it's a work of fiction or a true testament of his own personal struggle, delves into a sickness that he (and/or his character) never asked for, and would never act on. As for his execution, I was enthralled the whole time. Also, it's only about 45 minutes, which I see as a plus for this festival. If you think of yourself as truly empathetic, give this a shot.

Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant: A New Musical

Beautifully paced, gleefully dark, and the most fun I've seen a cast have this festival. All actors are competent musical theatre performers as well, so if you go you'll be treated so professional level stuff. Song and lyric was outrageous, catchy, and outrageously catchy as well. Highly recommend

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Sheep has been putting out top notch stuff since they started a few years ago, and they've only gotten better. This show could have been one where they made this strange puppet do crazy things and the audience would have been satisfied. It's more than that; it's a deep exploration of morality and freewill. Kudos to both Hamburger and Rodgers. Couple that with a tight direction from Michael Torsch and gorgeous music from John Hilsen and hey what a show. Also, you have no idea someone is made for a role until you see it happen. Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan, and now Robb Goetzke as Pinocchio. He was simultaneously hilarious and terrifying, all the while being innocent to what makes him either. Like a real boy.

On The Exhale
Vivid and Minimalist

I felt everything Jane was going through, I saw the events unfold in front me, and never once was anything under or overstated. This is the tightest one person show you're likely to see at Fringe. Extremely well executed.

RomCom-Con: A Meet-Cute Musical
You Stay Classy San Diego RomCom Con

The script had references that were fast and loose; I think I picked up on all of them, even the ones about movies I haven't seen because of the iconography. Music was equally good; Kyle seems to know his way around a keyboard and electric drum. All the actors onstage are known to be gifted comedians as you can see them around town at CSZ, HUGE, or any other improv theater. I will say I wish I enjoyed the singing more; perhaps with microphones the songs would have been enhanced. Probably a tall order considering it's Fringe. Oh well, that's my note!

Swords & Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign
Reliably Great with One Caveat

The Bearded Men are the best theatre in town, period. Their sense of timing is impeccable, the music is solid, and they can be just as serious as they are silly. Also their beards are on point (expect Michaels, but I guess his beard is implied) However, a storyline that goes on for more than 1 show is not a good idea for Fringe, in my opinion. There's too many shows to see; do you expect me to come back every night? Don't be needy! That being said, they have done a good job in the past of filling you in on previous installments. Definitely should check out.

Ronald Reagan: Time Traveler
The Reagantor Used Fossil Fuel

Tight direction from Denzel Belin and a terrific performance by Phillip Schramm. What I would have liked to see more of is how Reagan had dementia as opposed to him simply being a crazy Republican (where does the line blur with those two?). Also a bit heavy handed at times; while I liked the swapping between what was written for the show and Actual Quotes, I think they could have loosened up on all of those segments. There was an aspect of one character towards the end that felt shoehorned in as well. Probably a good start to more fully realized show in the future though.

It's About Love Again This Year
For what it's worth...

The dance throughout was absolutely lovely and I was with everyone in those moments. When they went for humor, however, it just felt like they were trying a little too hard. Comedy and dance can come together beautifully if done right, but I'm afraid it wasn't here for this show. Nevertheless, great dance

En Passant
About as slow as an actual chess match

While not without some merit, this show lacked stakes throughout most of its runtime. There's also a few plot holes and unresolved arcs. Perhaps this was meant to be longer, but I can't imagine how that would have helped it much. I can't say I enjoyed this show...

Gnarles Xavier's Queue