It's that time of year again: your opportunity to discover a hidden gem at The New York International Fringe Festival. But with 200 shows going up in just 16 days, how do you choose? We at TheaterMania have sorted through the whole list and picked out what we think are the most promising entries. Happy Fringing!
Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman will create not one, but five brand new musicals — based entirely on you. Here's how it works: Vigil and Kaufman interview one lucky couple in the audience and improvise a musical based on their love story. The act has previously played The Peoples Improv Theater, where it has delighted audiences. Be honest: You've secretly always wanted to be the subject of a big, sappy musical.
In 1989, 21-year-old Ann Starbuck was hired as a translator by the CNN Beijing Bureau. Her fluency in Chinese made her one of the few Americans to experience firsthand the events of June 4 and 5, when the Chinese government violently cracked down on student protesters in Tiananmen Square. Starbuck shares her story in this one-woman show, which was named "Best Production" in the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Like a lot of Americans, Al Marshall is stuck in the middle: caring for both his aging father and teenage son. Zack Friedman pens this thoughtful new play about the complicated relationship between fathers and sons. His previous plays include Night of the Butterfly and A Grimm Reality.
4. Loose Canon
Brian Reno and Gabriel Vega Weissman imagine the plays of Molière, Shakespeare, and Chekhov if they were set in the theaters of American consumerism: fast-food joints and big-box stores. If The Three Sisters took place in a Taco Bell (rather than a provincial town in Russia), what would count as Moscow? Chipotle? Find out in this madcap mash-up of high- and low-brow theater.
Jillie Mae Eddy peers into the dark heart of the so-called "Men's Rights Movement" to figure out just why the boys are so angry. An incendiary monologue from the show is already making the rounds on the Internet and stirring up an impassioned response. This is the show for those who like their theater with a little bite and a heaping side of controversy.
CODA is an acronym for "Children of Deaf Adults." Based partly on his experiences growing up, Mark Murray stars in this one-man show about Tim, the son of two deaf parents. It's a rare look into deaf culture in America through the perspective of a hearing child. All performances will be ASL interpreted.
Since her 2007 deportation from the United States, Mexican activist Elvira Arellano has become one of the many public faces of illegal immigration. Playwright Jessica Carmona imagines Arellano's interrogation by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent, shedding light on her story and that of millions of undocumented immigrants. As this is going to be a huge issue in the forthcoming election, socially conscious theatergoers should be sure not to miss Elvira.