promoted-media-optimized_553a47f5f154eThis year’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival (produced by Know Theatre) is the biggest yet, with over fifty different shows and featuring over 200 performances!  There’s no way this blog can capture it all so I’ll direct you to CityBeat (where I’ll be reviewing a few), Rob Bucher’s BEHIND THE CURTAIN CINCINNATI, and other sources for all the latest info.

I did want to highlight just a handful of things that you aren’t not to be missed based on previous productions and/or reputation.

Katie Langham stars in THE GOSPEL OF FAT KATHY

First, there’s a large CCM presence this year.  Returning from last year is #hashtagtheatrecompany, responsible for last year’s METH: a love story.  This year they will present THE GOSPEL OF FAT KATHY.  I saw a very early workshop production of this show and I understand it’s morphed and evolved greatly since then.  AC Horton, the director, is some sort of bizarro genius, and her collaborators are some of the funniest and finest actors I know.  Also, CCM Acting Head Richard Hess is bringing NAKED STRANGERS to the stage featuring several of his students.  Recent graduate Colleen Ladrick will bring us the unusually titled TWIGGY FARTDUST AND HER NEMESIS FROM MARS.

TW_Headshot (2)
Torie Wiggins

Other local artists also have productions in this year’s festival.  I’m especially looking forward to WE DID IT, GIRL! featuring the unique duo of Kevin Crowley and Torie Wiggins. Joshua Steele and Mike Hall’s Hugo West Theatricals will bring us CESSNA: A Drama Noir, which features a jazz band and Cincinnati favorites Hall, Carter Bratton, Mindy Heithaus, and Michael Bath.  BOO BOO, written by Ben Dudley, is about a 30 year old man who lives his life as a toddler.  Expect pop culture references and general silliness – but with heart.  Speaking of silly, Sean Mette will direct FURLESQUE, a “coming of age story set in a burlesque club for furries.”  Sounds fringetacular, to me.

8898413Abby Rowold and Caitlyn McWethy, the driving forces behind SHEatre, a theatre company promoting women in theatre, will produce I HATE IT HERE, a story about a relationship in crisis.  Queen City Flash, Trey Tatum and Bridget Leak’s theatre company, will present THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS featuring two of my favorites, Xavier theatre graduate Tatum Hunter and senior Alex Roberts.  MY LEFT TEETH is the latest from Paul Strickland  (“Ain’t Truth and Uncle False”) and features Miranda McGee and Annie Kalahurka.  Performance Gallery, who has participated in every Fringe since its inception, will bring OTHER BOTHER to the stage.

There’s lots more, too.  There’s the large dance presence (GRAPHIC by Pones, Inc. and CLARA featuring aerial silks being two I’m most interested in), the traditional intern production by Ensemble Theatre, and a whole host of high school entries as part of FringeNEXT.  And a lot of other shows I haven’t covered here.

There’s something for everyone and you should really experience the festival – for both the theatre AND the community.  There’s nothing quite like a night in Over-the-Rhine hanging out with hundreds of theatre people.

I’ll be down there soaking it all up!  See ya soon, Fringers!

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival runs from May 31st – June 11th. Get your tickets now for the shows you want to see – or buy a Full Frontal All Access pass! – by clicking here.