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Wednesday, September 6, 2017 11:00 AM by Visit Rochester

2017 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival among top U.S. fringes

Rochester, NY – The KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival will feature more than 500 performances and events at 25+ venues in downtown Rochester, NY from Thursday, September 14 through Saturday, September 23, 2017. 

“We are thrilled to be one of the most-attended fringe festivals in the U.S., and to be part of the global phenomenon that began as an act of defiance 70 years ago in Edinburgh, Scotland,” says Rochester Fringe Producer Erica Fee, referring to the eight groups who started the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – now the largest arts festival in the world – in 1947. “There are more than 200 fringe festivals worldwide – on every continent except Antarctica. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but are united in their dedication to providing platforms for artists to bring their work to new audiences, allowing them to share their ideas and develop their skills.”

Platiciens Volants - Big Bang - 01 - Photo by Dumitru DragosMore than 175 of the 2017 Fringe’s offerings are free to the public, including the U.S. premiere tour of France’s Plasticiens Volants, presenting one of its grand-scale, jaw-dropping street theatre spectacles called BIG BANG at Friday and Saturday on the Fringe (Sept. 15 & 16) at Parcel 5. Founded in Paris in 1976, Plasticiens Volants is renowned for creating high-profile events in the skies, squares, and streets of five continents – including its most recent production for the Olympic Games in Rio (2016) – captivating audiences with giant, inflatable, floating creatures combined with theater, projected images, music, and pyrotechnics.

Fringe also brings Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian John Mulaney’s KID GORGEOUS tour to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. (SOLD OUT). He most recently starred in the Broadway hit, Oh, Hello on Broadway alongside Nick Kroll. His third, hour-long stand-up special, “THE COMEBACK KID,” was called “the best hour of his career” by The A.V. Club. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly has hailed Mulaney as “one of the best stand-up comics alive.” 

Dancers at Rochester Fringe FestivalThe non-profit Fringe presents a second weekend (Sept. 22 & 23) of free entertainment on Gibbs Street (closed to traffic), which includes the return of last year’s hugely popular Fringe Street Beat. Teams of three from all over the region will compete in this exciting, all-styles dance battle for the title of Fringe Street Beat Champions and a cash prize of $1500 (to be awarded by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren). Also returning for its fifth year: the standing-room-only, free Gospel Sunday show in Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall (Sept. 17).

One of the highlights for Fringe fans is the annual reappearance of the magical Spiegeltent – an historic Belgian “mirror tent” – that will once again host Cirque du Fringe. This year’s show is another world premiere created especially for Fringe by Las Vegas’ Matt and Heidi Morgan – Cirque du Fringe: Eclectic Attraction – featuring all-new acts of daring and skill, live music, and a healthy dose of comedy. Late-night in the Spiegeltent: the sublimely bawdy, award-winning musical comedy The Bicycle Men, and the return of the total sell-out hit, Silent Disco. Last year’s sold-out Disco Kids returns as well.

In the surrounding Spiegelgarden – that chill, urban lounge at One Fringe Place (corner of East Main & Gibbs Sts.) – Pedestrian Drive-In returns with a new set of cult and classic films (free) using Silent Disco headphones. All of this year’s movies have a Rochester connection as well. New this year: 3D Sound Experience in the Immersive Igloo is an ambient, electronic soundscape housed within a glowing, 40-foot, inflatable igloo.

In addition to the Igloo show, Fringe once again focuses on site-specific work in the Spiegelgarden, with new editions of favorites Dashboard Dramas IV in parked cars and Bushwacked: Crystal Magic Wonder Cabinet Palace Tent. Three free shows are brand-new offerings: Complimentary Heckling, Storychick Rochester Storybooth, and the space between. Site-specific work in other venues includes the multimedia collaboration LABYRINTH (RMSC’s Strasenburgh Planetarium), Spooky Stories in the Stacks (Central Library) and The Structure of Us (Makers Gallery & Studio).

Farm to Fringe event at the Rochester Fringe FestivalAlso debuting this year: FARM TO FRINGE, a partnership with some of Rochester’s favorite local farms and proprietors to bring a fresh, flavorful experience to the festival, including a beer, wine & spirits tasting on Saturday, Sept. 16; pumpkin carving and painting in the Speigelgarden on Sept. 22 & 23: and a Fringe Afternoon Tea in the Spiegeltent on Sunday, Sept.17.

Based on the Edinburgh Fringe model, the vast majority of the Fringe’s productions are submitted by artists and then chosen by the Fringe venues themselves: Bernunzio Uptown Music, Blackfriars Theatre, the Central Library, Eastman School of Music, Gallery r, Garth Fagan Dance Studio, George Eastman Museum, Geva Theatre Center, Java’s Café, The Little Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Makers Gallery & Studio, MuCCC, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, School of the Arts, TheatreROCS Stage at Abilene, and Writers & Books. Genres are: Children’s, Comedy, Dance, Multidisciplinary, Music, Performance Art, Spoken Word, Theatre, and Visual Art & Film.  All tickets, show descriptions, and a full schedule are available at rochesterfringe.com.

“This year’s shows include compelling, uplifting, thought-provoking, hilarious, unexpected, immersive, silly, important, raw, polished, and indescribable offerings that once again range from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the local to the global, and from Fringe favorites to world premieres,” adds Fee. “We encourage audiences to be just as adventurous and to explore the possibilities!” 

More about KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival: Celebrating and inspiring creativity, the “Fringe” – which is partially curated by the festival and partially by the festival venues themselves from applications submitted by artists – includes everything from theatre, music, comedy and dance,

to children’s entertainment, spoken word, visual arts, and much more. Now in its sixth year, it has become one of the most successful fringe festivals in the U.S., attracting more than 68,000 attendees in 2016. This 10-day, multi-arts festival now boasts over 500 performances and events – more than 175 of which are free – in 25+ venues in downtown Rochester, NY.

Rochester Fringe Festival is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that exists as a means to connect venues, performers, artists, educational institutions and the audience. It was pioneered by several of Rochester’s esteemed cultural institutions, including Geva Theatre Center, the George Eastman House and Garth Fagan Dance, as well as up-and-coming groups like PUSH Physical Theatre and Method Machine. The Board of Directors includes representatives from the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC, Boylan Code LLC, the Eastman School of Music, Mengel, Metzger and Barr & Co. LLP, Method Machine, PUSH Physical Theatre, and Writers & Books. The Rochester Fringe Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with thesupport of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This festival is also supported by a grant from Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

Additional 2017 Fringe sponsors include: KeyBank; New York State Council on the Arts; University of Rochester; Rochester Area Community Foundation; Elaine P. & Richard U. Wilson Foundation; RIT;  Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust; National Endowment for the Arts; Waldron Rise Foundation; Gouvernet

Arts Fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation; City of Rochester; Monroe County;  Bond, Schoeneck & King LLP; Boylan Code LLP; Mengel, Metzger, Barr & Co. LLP; Wegmans; Nocon & Associates; Hyatt Regency Rocheser; Ronald Fielding; SUNY Geneseo; The Pike Company; the Max & Marian Farash Charitable Foundation; 13-WHAM; CITY Newspaper; Democrat & Chronicle Media Group; East Avenue Inn & Suites; Broccolo Tree & Lawncare; McCarthy Tents & Events; Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation; The Rubens Family Foundation; The Wilson Foundation; the Kozel Family Foundation; Fred & Floy Willmott Foundation; William G. McGowan Charitable Fund; the College at Brockport; Nazareth College; St. John Fisher College; Visit Rochester; Hamilton A/V; Genesee Beer; City Blue; WXXI; Yelp!; Midtown Athletic; KidsOutandAbout.com; and ESL Foundation.

About KeyCorp: KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $134.5 billion at March 31, 2017. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, insurance, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of more than 1,200 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs.  Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications, and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.

Media please note: Fringe media assets including press releases, high-resolution images, videos, accreditation, and more can be found at rochesterfringe.com/press. Interviews and photo/footage opportunities can also be arranged. For press passes and tickets, please contact Fringe Publicist Sally Cohen (above). Please visit rochesterfringe.com for more information.


Author: Visit Rochester
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