CIRCUS ORANGE, Jay Pharoah, Spoon River Rochester and More Highlight 2014 First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, Running 9/18-27
The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival announced its third annual lineup this morning for the September 18-27, 2014 event in and around downtown Rochester's East End. Fringe 2014 will include more than 380 shows of all genres in 28 venues that range from parked cars to the return of the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent. The full schedule is available and all tickets are on sale as of noon today at rochesterfringe.com.
"We are thrilled to once again help support what is now the largest multi-arts festival in New York State," said Suzanne Nasipak-Chapman, First Niagara Rochester Market Executive. "The Fringe reflects our commitment to enhancing Rochester's quality of life and to bringing people into our city's cultural center."
More than 120 of this year's Fringe events are free, including this year's outdoor spectacular featuring Canada's CIRCUS ORANGE on Friday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at Manhattan Square. Part of the third annual free Friday on the Fringe from 5-9 p.m. that will also feature live music and dance, CIRCUS ORANGE will dazzle Rochester with an hour-long performance called TRICYCLE. Featuring an 18-foot-tall, three-wheeled magnificent machine with built-in music and special effects that will weave its way through the crowd, the show is a mix of street theatre, clowning, fire arts, aerial, dance and circus. Lines between performer and audience will blur until the tricycle's giant wheel is hoisted 60 feet into the air, becoming a human-powered pyro wheel, as full-scale fireworks explode in the background.
Fringe's comedy headliner this year is Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah, best known for his wide array of uncanny celebrity impressions including President Barack Obama, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Kanye West. He will appear for two shows in the Spiegeltent on Saturday, September 20 at 9:30 and 11:30 p.m.
The Spiegeltent will also feature a brand-new, world-premiere show created by the producers of last year's sold-out Cirque du Fringe: MARDI GRAS! by Cirque du Fringe. Hosted by 2013's "don't-try-this-at-home" clowns from 20 Penny Circus and featuring the Kenya Safari Acrobats, the Bourbon Street-inspired show will include feats of balance and strength, grace and guffaws, backed by a dynamic mix of New Orleans jazz, Dixieland, blues, R&B, funk and more. 20 Penny Circus will headline its own late-night, adults-only show in the Spiegeltent as well. Also in the Spiegeltent: the return of last year's sold-out hit, Silent Disco, along with a new lunchtime version: Brown Bag Disco.
In the Spiegelgarden -- Fringe's outdoor, European-inspired, wine-and-beer lounge -- Pedestrian Drive-In returns with five free "silent" movies (using Silent Disco headphones), all beginning at 7:30 p.m.: Pink Floyd's The Wall (9/20), Future Weather (9/21, High Falls Film Festival), Gayby (9/22, Image Out), The Big Lebowski (9/23, back by popular demand) and The Goonies (9/25). Gospel Sunday reappears this year in the Spiegelgarden (Sunday, September 21 at 1-3 p.m.), along with site-specific shows: Bushwacked: Two Women, a Tent, and You, taking place in a pup tent alongside the Spiegeltent; Dashboard Dramas, four short plays in four parked cars; performances by FuturPointe Dance, and the return of the UR Arts Bus.
Once again, the Spiegeltent/Spiegelgarden area at the corner of Gibbs and E. Main Streets is designated as One Fringe Place. The Fringe hub throughout the entire ten-day festival, it's where to find food trucks, the box office, restrooms, an ATM, the merchandise tent, the info booth, and free entertainment including giant lawn games.
Gibbs Street will be closed to traffic for live music (including Thunder Body) and other free entertainment during the second weekend of Fringe: Friday, Sept. 26 from 5 - 11 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 27 from noon - 10:30 p.m. Saturday's free activities for kids will include Chalk Art from 12 - 3 p.m., and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Interactive Movie and Costume Parade from 2 - 4 p.m.
A new Fringe highlight this year is Spoon River Rochester -- now fully cast with 300 local participants from all walks of life. This free, outdoor, community-wide performance created by Rochester's Method Machine is the largest-ever production of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, a haunting collection of 244 free-form poems that are the epitaphs of citizens of a fictional town called Spoon River. Part zombie-walk, part flash-mob, part performance art, Spoon River Rochester will take place along Gibbs Street and One Fringe Place on Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 from 6:30 - 7 p.m.
Said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren: "The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival is yet another indication that Rochester is indeed the City of the Arts. In addition to the free, spectacular Friday on the Fringe at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at Manhattan Square, Fringe provides 120 other free shows across the City of Rochester during its 10-day run, making the performing arts accessible and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike."
Other returning Fringe venues are: Bernunzio Uptown Music, Blackfriars Theatre, Eastman School of Music (Kilbourn Hall & Sproull Atrium), Gallery r, Garth Fagan Dance Studio, George Eastman House's Dryden Theatre, Geva Theatre Center Nextstage and Café, Java's Café, The Little Theatre 1 and Café, MuCCC, RAPA, Rochester Contemporary Arts Center (RoCo), TheatreROCS Stage at Xerox Auditorium, and Writers & Books.
The vast majority of the 380+ Fringe shows are productions that were submitted by artists to venues by April 16, 2014, and then chosen to be presented by venues. They are broken down into nine genres: Children's Entertainment, Comedy, Dance, Multi-Disciplinary, Music, Performance Art, Spoken Word, Theatre, and Visual Art & Film. All show descriptions, schedules and tickets are at rochesterfringe.com.
"Fringe is about constantly pushing boundaries and testing new work -- whether as an audience member or as a participant," adds Fringe Producer Erica Fee. "We hope that Rochesterians will once again embrace the depth and breadth that this very unique festival has to offer."
Ticket prices for the non-Spiegeltent shows range from $5-$16, with approximately one third of all shows totally free. A limited number of Fringe Fanatic Passes are available for $190. Spiegeltent shows are not included in the Fringe Pass; Spiegeltent single tickets range from $7 to $48 through 8/30, increasing in price on 9/1. Tickets are also available by phone at (585) 317-5010 (additional phone fees apply). Tickets will be available in person at the Spiegeltent Box Office (One Fringe Place, corner of Gibbs & Main Sts.) beginning Sunday, Sept. 14; and at venues (if available) starting one hour prior to performance.