24 Feb 1997
More than 100 of the world's best emerging theatre companies and performing artists are scheduled to perform for 11 days in more than a dozen of NY's most prominent Downtown venues. From Aug. 13-24, shows will be presented noon to 2 AM daily.
As a way to raise money and consciousness of the Festival, the creators are holding a "Night Of 100 Stars" Feb. 17. Hosted by Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara and Estelle Parsons (Grace & Gloria), William H. Macy (Off-Broadway's Oleanna and the film Fargo), and newly-announced Elaine Paige (Sunset Boulevard), the benefit will feature music, dancing, free food, and non-stop performances starting at 8 PM and continuing through the wee hours.
The first batch of stars announced include:
John Kelly (Paved Paradise), Shelly Mars, Heather Woodbury, the NeoFuturists (of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind) , the cast of Igloo Tales, The Heartless Floozies, Amy Sohn, Theatre Couture, The Flying Neutrinos, Dale Goodson, Bob Sikoryak.
The "Night Of 100 Stars," which will offer appearances/performances by over 100 artists and celebrities, will take palce at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center on Suffolk St. In the Lower East Side. For tickets ($25-$30) and information call (212) 307-0229.
The festival will include performances covering a wide rage of disciplines, including theatre, performance art, dance, spoken word buskers, and new technology. This festival makes New York the sixth U.S.city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando and San Francisco.
Applications may obtained by calling (212) 307-1022 or writing to The New York International Fringe Festival, 445 West 45th Street, 4th floor, New York NY 10036. Completed applications must be received no later than Feb. 15, 1997.
Unlike other Fringe Festivals, applications for The New York International Fringe Festival will be judged and selected (rather than "first come, first served"), a process the festival hopes will allow it to present "the best and brightest work available."
According to spokesperson Ron Lasko of the Zeisler Group, organizers of some other fringe festivals aren't crazy about this arrangement, since they feel the whole initial spirit of fringe festivals came from everyone getting a chance to participate. Then again, said Lasko, "In New York City, with so much going on, it would be almost impossible to do a typical Festival and then make it multi-cultural and representative of the city."
According to the application for Festival participation, applicants pay a $35 processing fee, and then a $350 participation fee if chosen. Participants receive 70 percent of the box office take (show tickets are $8-$10) and receive one cue-to-cue tech rehearsal.
The Festival is the brainchild of Jonathan Harris, founder of The League of Fringe Theaters and co-founder of the first U.S. Fringe Festival in Seattle; and John Clancy, artistic director of The Present Company; and Aaron Beall, artistic director of Todo Con Nada, Inc. The Festival's concept is "to unite the next generation of theatre artists, to provide an active forum for producers and artists to meet, and to increase the public's awareness of the vitality and diversity of live performance." The Fringe's producers also hope to see a nationwide festival circuit that will afford artists an opportunity to tour from March (Seattle) to September (San Francisco).
Harris, Clancy and Beall, along with Managing Director Elena K. Holy, also currently seek corporate sponsorship for the burgeoning festival.
First initiated by a small group of thespians in Edinburgh, Scotland, 50 years ago, Fringe Festivals are built upon a tradition of presenting cutting-edge work and emerging artists.
--By David Lefkowitz