Providing the Best in Uncensored Theatre
In 1992, Orlando hosted their first Fringe Theatre Festival. Today, it has grown into a two-week spotlight on local and national performers as they put on their homegrown shows in Loch Haven Park and the Ivanhoe Village neighborhood in the City Beautiful. The mission of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is to “provide an accessible, affordable outlet that draws diverse elements of the community together and inspires creative excellence through the arts,” and they succeed in doing so each year. This year’s Fringe Theatre Festival will take place starting Wednesday, May 13, and going on through Monday, May 25.
It’s easy to attend Orlando Fringe productions. All you need to do is buy your 2015 Orlando Fringe Button, which you would need to wear to be able to buy tickets at specific ticketed performances (some performances are free and are noted where available). The button costs $9 and can be purchased online by going to orlandofringe.ticketleap.com. Tickets for all of the ticketed performances can be bought here as well, but you have the option to buy them at the door on the night of each performance if you like.
Here are profiles on eight Orlando Fringe productions that may be of particular interest to you.
1969: Stonewall is presented by John Ryan and His Divas and directed by Michael Wanzie. This production tells the story of various LGBT people from all walks of life who are impacted forever by the events at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969. Tickets are $11. The opening performance is Saturday, May 16 at 12:30 p.m. at the Orlando Museum of Art (2416 N. Mills Ave.), and will run through May 24.
Cootie Catcher is a show presented by Lucas Brooks of Brooklyn, New York, and consists of a reflection of his sex life, and his struggle to remain enthusiastic about sex in a world consumed with the thought of HIV. Tickets are $11. The opening performance is Thursday, May 14 at 10:45 p.m. at Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins St.), and will run through May 24.
Darwin vs. Rednecks is a one-man show presented by Stewart Huff from Winterville, Georgia. Think back to all the times you’ve argued with a conservative friend or family member about religion and politics. None of those experiences would be quite as memorable as this show, which pokes fun and holes through all the flawed belief systems you’ve heard over and over again. Tickets are $10. The opening performance is Thursday, May 14 at 10:30 p.m. at Lowndes Shakespeare Center and will run through May 23.
Dragness of God is presented by Doug Ba’aser, who also stars as Agnes, a nun who is experienced in giving virgin birth and having uncontrollable stigmata. Michael Wanzie, who wrote the play, plays Mother Superior. This production returns to Fringe ten years after its first successful run. Tickets are $11. The opening performance is Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at Lowndes Shakespeare Center and will run through May 24.
Field Guide to the Gays 2 is the sequel to the award-winning production put on at last year’s Fringe by Logan Donahoo. He brings you all the things you knew about LGBT culture, and some you didn’t, all via a one-man multimedia presentation that will keep you in stitches. Tickets are $11. The opening performance is on Wednesday, May 13, with a special Friday night performance on May 15 at 7 p.m. at Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and it will be performed every night through May 18. (Additional performances are slated for May 20, 22 and 24.)
Judy Garland is just what it says — an evening with Judy (impersonated by Mark Baratelli), glitz, glamour, pills and all. This improvised show will take you back to what Judy’s life was REALLY like. Tickets are $5. The opening performance is on Friday, May 15 at 8:45 p.m. at Lowndes Shakespeare Center, with performances running until May 24.
Lay, Ms. is presented by the repertory company at Charade Theater in Orlando and is a retelling of Les Misérables, but set in the gay world of the 1950s and 1960s. Dream a dream and take a groovy trip back to the past, when some people just cared too much in a supposedly carefree world. Tickets are $9. The opening night performance is on Thursday, May 14 at 8:30 p.m. at the Orlando Repertory Theatre (1001 E. Princeton St.), with performances going on through May 24.
The Lion Queen and the Naked Go-Go Cub is the best-selling Fringe show of all time and it’s back with an all new cast! Watch Wanzie Presents and D Squared Productions twist the story of The Lion King to fit the birth of the gay rights movement, all while sticking it to Disney in the process! Tickets are $11. The opening night performance takes place on Friday, May 15 at 10 p.m. at Lowndes Shakespeare Theater, with performances continuing until May 24.
For more information on the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, visit orlandofringe.org. Connect with them on social media as well by going to facebook.com/orlandofringefestival and twitter.com/orlandofringe.