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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Krispin Jacobson-Shax

Years attending Fringe: 2-4 years
25-34 years old
Lives in... Saint Paul
Favorite genre: Comedy

Krispin Shax's reviews

Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire
An Enthralling Education

Less of a play, more of an absolutely absorbing guest lecture (meant in the best way possible), with the eminently likeable Ada Cheng taking us in her journey through naturalization and living in our often invisibly racist society. Ada's story is performed bare bones, and there's no reason not to. Her style is authentic, although her movements and deliveries at times feel a bit choreographed. But it's hard to fault her for that, when her show is so completely honest and fascinating.

Find a Way to See It!

2017's must see, at least in this category. The pervasive feeling of dread conveyed by the music, the simple but unnerving aesthetic of the shadow puppetry, the sparseness of dialogue, the reliance on darkness, the creatures, the simplicity of it all... It all combines so perfectly. If you are in any way an avid fan of puppetry, or truly looking for something great that's off the beaten path, this is it. This. Is. It.

How Do They Do It?!

Yes, the jokes are amazing. Yes, the live scoring is perfect. Yes, the acting is perfect, from the Hobbesian tabula rasa of Pinocchio straight in through to an almost rude-boy sexy Lampwick. But what sets this production apart is writer and Stromboli actor Joey Hamburger's uncanny, divine ability to have it both ways: its both a stupefyingly absurd parody, and yet also a rather real, profound satire and philosophical rumination on choice, love, and selfishness. How does he do it?!

Hello, I Must Be Going...
Sheer talent

Ari Hoptman is an absolute marvel. There are few actors who can impersonate and physicalize Groucho so well, let alone ones who can improvise and riff like Groucho could! This script does great work exploring the private life of a fascinating man. The rest of the cast is good, but they wisely allow Ari to be the true star of the show, which he deservedly is. It's simply astounding. The show's very good as a whole, but even on top of that, Ari Hoptman's performance must be seen to be believed. A+.

Sensational script

This script is amazing. "Cocaine" clocks in at just about 30 minutes but is engrossing, fascinating, and yet so dang simple. The script is truly a star. This sterling text, though, only emphasizes the flaws in the actors who, though not by any means awful, are sort of just... serviceable. They tend to play at just one level the whole time. And yet, despite their failings, the play rises above them. Although it seems to miss creating truly beautiful moments where there is quite clearly tons of potential, in the end, I am very glad I saw it. A very transporting, strong story.

Repertoire Dogs

Solid impressions all around -- even the younger guy, who had fewer impressions in his pocket, was super charming. Could have used a tighter structure, but honestly, it was just some great fun with guys doing impressions.

Gruesome Playground Injuries
Worth it

It's very, very good. It's not standard Fringe fare, since it's a proper drama more at home in a formal theater than at a festival like this, but for that reason it's a very welcome change of pace. Though the script is magnificent, one gets the feeling that cuts had to be made to squeeze it into an hour, and so certain moments feel a little smooshed and unnatural, as if cobbled. The acting, by and large, is quite good. The star of the show is the script itself, though. It's one of those great shows where you're hypnotized just by two people's lives.

RomCom-Con: A Meet-Cute Musical
A nice little diversion

The great elements are all there. The story is a fine, well-hewn spoof of the rom-com genre, the dialogue itself is fairly good, and the music and lyrics are actually surprisingly well done. Some moments were absolutely perfect. The only true failings here are the actors. Aside from our delightful leading lady, whose naturalism and delivery is tempered perfectly for the genre she's in, the rest of the cast are subpar performers, both musically and acting wise. I believe our leading man was behind the best in half of his songs, and his "kooky best friend" was less "kooky" and more "gratingly immature." Overall, the show itself is well worth seeing. If only the performers were of higher calibre, this would have been a total must-see.

Buffy the Bedbug Slayer
Uneven but Enjoyable

This show is quite the mixed bag. On one hand, it nearly-perfectly mimics a Buffy episode, and the lead who played Buffy is truly doing a flawless, un-self-aware Sarah Michelle Gellar. Dawn is played very un-Dawn-like, but her actress's comic sensibilities are a very welcome, cartoony break. But then there's the utterly absurd (and, by this point, tired and cliche) decision to cast Trump as her landlord? And played by a tragically unenergetic performer who put no heart into her role? The same goes for Willow, who seemed unable to look half the actors in the eye -- and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a character choice. Overall, there are some fine moments and funny, enjoyable performances from some, but there are definitely many wonky parts.

So Goshdarn Warm and Fuzzy!
But for the non-dance fans?...

I'm not an avid fan of modern dance, but hey, it's the Fringe, so I'm open to everything! Unfortunately, this show didn't do much to captivate me, that being said. The second and final numbers were really amazing, but otherwise i was just zonked out by the dancing. Plus, the emcee chatter and banter was kind of canned and even the audience participation felt a little choreographed and insincere. Almost like "warm and fuzzy paint-by-numbers." If you're a modern dance fan you will be very, very impressed. For the rest of us, it is likely a hard pass.

Get Hooked

High School level, truly. It felt like there was no director. Plot was flimsy and nothing felt natural or followable. Some actors were just... saying lines, and not actually acting. Songs so-so at best, although the live band is stellar. There was so little liveliness in this show, it was tragically disappointing.

Krispin Jacobson-Shax's Queue

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by Hit the Lights! Theater Co.

Jungle Theater  

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by Sheep Theater

Mixed Blood  

Eide Bailly