The New York International Fringe Festival (Fringe NYC) turns five years old this year. That means the annual event has so far swamped the Manhattan theatre scene with roughly 600 productions, and (if past fests' are any judge) will serve up 150 more this Aug. 15-26.
To accomplish that, however, festival organizers need product. Anyone interested in making a try at securing a spot in this year's line-up should send in an application by Feb. 28. For applications for the 2001 festival, call (212) 420-8877, visit the web site at http://www.fringenyc.org, or write to FringeNYC at 196-198 Stanton Street, New York NY 10002.
As usual, Fringe NYC is produced by The Present Company, headed up by producing director Elena K. Holy and artistic director John Clancy. Completed applications will be adjudicated by a committee of over two dozen panelists from the arts community.
While the Fringe has yet to send one of its productions on to high-profile success, several past show have seen life after the festival. 1997's Baby Redboots Revenge, with Canadian Sean Sullivan, went on to a run at P.S. 122, while 1998's Lola Montez in Bavaria by John Jahnke was later produced at HERE. Eric Dyer's Bender, part of the 1998 fest, was later seen in a short run at The Red Room, and another offering of that year, The All-Male Importance of Being Earnest, played a three-month run at the Duplex in Greenwich Village the following winter. The 2000 event has had a particularly successful aftermath. So far, at least five Fringe shows have enjoyed remountings in 2001—Director Emma Griffin's production of Stage Door, the Edna Ferber-George S. Kaufman comedy (a hit at HERE); As You Like It, presented by Chashama and Liars' Club (at 111 Times Square); Tiny Ninja Theatre's Macbeth (The Present Company); The NeoFuturists' The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett... (The Present Company); and playwright Daniel MacIvor's See Bob Run (The Red Room). MacIvor, in fact, has made a career out of springboarding from the festival; his earlier play, Never Swim Alone, had a run at the Soho Playhouse after being featured in the 1999 edition.
Of all the shows presented at NYC Fringe in four years, however, the improbably titled Urinetown! may have the best chance at becoming a smash. Word has the musical headed for an Off-Broadway production this spring, backed by the big league producers, The Dodgers, as well as Araca Group.
—By Robert Simonson