Story via Rochester Fringe Festival
The fourth First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival (Thursday, September 17 – Saturday, September 26) announced its complete lineup this week at its annual BIG REVEAL at The Little Theatre. The 2015 Fringe will include more than 500 performances and events (up from 2014’s 380) featuring all genres of art in 25+ venues in downtown Rochester, with more than 120 of them offered free of charge. The full schedule is available and all tickets are on sale as of now at RochesterFringe.com …
This year’s Fringe is calling itself “unordinary,” and in that spirit, has commissioned Berlin’s Rimini Protokoll – a ground-breaking, award-winning, site-specific theatre company – to produce its international hit, Remote X, for Rochester – only the second U.S. city to host the show. The first took place in New York City this past March – although it has been produced in 17 major cities around the world, including Paris, Milan, Lisbon and St. Petersburg. This “pedestrian-based, live art experience” takes 50 people (or “horde,” as the show calls them) wearing headphones along a carefully planned urban route. Remote Rochester will have 20 performances during the 10 days of Fringe.
“A synthetic voice in the headphones directs the movements of the horde, while music turns the cityscape into a personal film, composing a soundtrack to streets, parking garages, churches and backyards,” explained Fringe Producer Erica Fee. “The whole idea of this unique tour is for audiences to discover new perspectives about their city, themselves, and reality itself.”
This year’s big, free headliner show at Friday on the Fringe (September 18, the second night of Fringe) in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at Manhattan Square features NYC’s Grounded Aerial. With more than 30 years of combined experience in choreographing, performing, and rigging extraordinary aerial events, Grounded Aerial has appeared all over the world. U.S. highlights include performances at the Spiderman II release party, Lincoln Center, and on NBC’s America’s Got Talent as well as its recent I Can Do That. They will perform on the side of the 21-story HSBC Plaza as well as on the park’s metal sculpture (Tribute to Man) across the street.
The popular Spiegeltent returns to One Fringe Place (the festival “hub” at corner of East Main and Gibbs Streets), but this year’s magical “mirror tent” is The Aurora from The Netherlands. The historic treasure will leave Europe for the first time to make its US debut here, as well as providing more audience capacity than the previous Magic Crystal.
Inside, two world-premiere shows will run throughout Fringe. Both have been created and will be hosted by Matt and Heidi Morgan, hosts of the world-renowned Las Vegas Spiegelworld show, Absinthe.
Cabinet of Wonders celebrates the eccentricities of life with comedy, contortion, aerial, feats of strength, juggling, and a one-legged tap dancer; Princess Wendy’s Late Nite Tease Room features a down-and-out birthday princess in a comedy and burlesque romp for adults.
Also in the Spiegeltent, comedian (and former Brother Wease sidekick) Jamie Lissow returns to the Fringe – previously opening for both Patton Oswalt and Jay Pharoah – for one show only on Saturday, September 19 at 9:30 p.m. Silent Disco – a total sellout each year – returns at 11 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays, as well as its lunchtime version that debuted last year, Brown Bag Disco, at noon on Friday, September 25.
The Spiegelgarden – that urban, pop-up lounge – will be back as well, complete with fire pit, eclectic furniture, art and lighting, bar and food trucks. Free entertainment will include the return of Pedestrian Drive-In (free, outdoor movies using Silent Disco headphones). Ticketed, site-specific shows will include the return of Dashboard Dramas (taking place in four parked cars) and Bushwacked (happening in a pup tent), as well as a new addition, Hot Tub: The Musical.
Luke Kempner’s award-winning impressions comedy, Upside Downton, comes to Rochester direct from London’s West End. In this hilarious parody, he recreates more than 30 Downton Abbey and celebrity characters. The London Daily Telegraph called it a “remarkable tour de force.” Performances are Friday & Saturday, September 25 & 26 at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall.
Also in Kilbourn Hall this year: the return of the free and very popular Gospel Sunday on Sunday, September 20 at 2 p.m. Pastor Melvin Cross, Jr. and Glory House International will headline, along with gospel recording artist, Lewis Banks. Adding to this afternoon of elation will be Lady Natasha House and the Dance Ministry of the Eagles Network International, representing churches from all over Rochester.
Free entertainment – bands, show highlights, Chalk Art, food and beverage vendors, street entertainers, etc. – will take place on Gibbs Street for two weekends this year for the first time: Saturday (3-11 p.m.) and Sunday (1-7 p.m.), September 19 & 20; and Friday (5-11 p.m.) and Saturday (3-11 p.m.), September 25 & 26.
While the Fringe curates the above headliners as well as all free outdoor entertainment, the vast majority of its 500+ performances and events are productions that were submitted by artists to venues by April 22, 2015, and then chosen to be presented at Fringe by those venues. Rochester’s “bifurcated” Fringe adds four new venues this year: Abilene, The Strong, the new Lyric Theatre, and RAPA at School of the Arts. They join existing Fringe venues: Bernunzio Uptown Music, Blackfriars Theatre, Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall and Sproull Atrium, Gallery r, Garth Fagan Dance Studio, George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre, Geva Theatre Center’s Fielding Stage, Java’s Café, The Little, MuCCC, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo), TheatreROCS Stage and Writers & Books.
Other important contributors to Fringe are area institutions of higher education – the biggest reason that the festival is held in the fall. The University of Rochester including the Eastman School of Music, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Geneseo, The College at Brockport and Nazareth College all have partnerships with – and student/faculty shows in – Fringe.
Ticket prices for the venue-curated shows range from $3-$25 ($10 average), set by the venues themselves. A very limited number of Fringe Fanatic Passes are available for $190. They include all Spiegeltent shows this year as well as Remote Rochester – only Upside Downton is not included. BUY EARLY AND SAVE! Spiegeltent single tickets range from $7 (Brown Bag Disco) to $182 (VIP booth), increasing in price on 9/14; Remote Rochester tickets are $25 ($28 on 9/14); Upside Downton: $31 ($34 on 9/14). Tickets are also available by phone at
Fringe 2015 is looking for volunteers to usher, scan tickets, help with production and pre-production activities, etc. Volunteers receive a Fringe t-shirt and qualify for a free ticket to select Fringe shows by volunteering for eight hours or more. Those interested should fill out the application here or email [email protected].
Tags: Abilene, Absinthe, Bernunzio Uptown Music, Blackfriars Theatre, Brown Bag Disco, Bushwacked, Dance Ministry, Dashboard Dramas, Downton Abbey, Eagles Network International, East Main Street, Eastman School of Music, Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall and Sproull Atrium, Erica Fee, Gallery r, Garth Fagan Dance Studio, George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre, Geva Theatre Center’s Fielding Stage, Gibbs Street, Gospel Sunday on Sunday, Grounded Aerial, Hot Tub: The Musical, HSBC Plaza, Jamie Lissow, Java’s Café, Jay Pharoah, Kilbourn Hall, Lady Natasha House, Lewis Banks, Luke Kempner, Lyric Theatre, Matt and Heidi Morgan, MuCCC, Nazareth College, Patton Oswalt, Rimini Protokoll, Rochester, Rochester Association of Performing Arts (RAPA), Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo), Rochester Fringe Festival, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY, School of the Arts, Silent Disco, Spiegelgarden, Spiegeltent, Spiegelworld, SUNY Geneseo, The Aurora, The College at Brockport, The Little, The Strong, TheatreROCS Stage, Tribute to Man sculpture, University of Rochester, Upside Downton, Writers & Books
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