Can’t-Miss Shows And Events Of The 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Kicking Off Today, September 3

Fringe Festival
One of this year’s curated Fringe centerpiece shows, the rarely seen Lucinda Childs’ work Available Light will be presented in the massive Drexel University Armory with music by John Adams and stage design by Frank Gehry. Don’t miss it. (Photo by Craig T. Matthew)

Hey, theater fans! This week, the 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival commences its annual bonanza of engaging performing arts, kicking off today, September 3, and continuing for 16 days with theater, dance, visual arts, music and spoken-word and much more.

Organized by FringeArts, Philadelphia’s influential presenter of contemporary performance, Philly’s Fringe Festival features works by acclaimed contemporary artists in its FringeArts curated performances and pieces by any-and-all regional artists in its independently produced shows.

An expansive and compelling array of works make up this year’s curated show lineup, including world premieres, rarely seen works and one of the largest shows to ever be produced in Fringe history.

And that’s just the start. The festival includes more than 600 opportunities to see shows, sometimes as many as 80 performances in a single day.

We’ve outlined our primer for the festival, and now we’ve culled down the amazing array of performances to highlight the curated Fringe shows opening the festival that we think just shouldn’t be missed.

Of course, this is a mere smattering of the breadth of offerings.

Plus, the festival includes a huge culinary bash, Feastival, and we have a ticket code for savings.

Stay tuned for more top picks as the festival continues, and for the complete calendar of shows, check right here.

After the Rehearsal/Persona

September 3-5, 8 p.m., 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd Street.

From September 3 to 5, two Ingmar Bergman screenplays – After the Rehearsal and Persona — hit the stage in an American premiere at the huge 23rd Street Armory for this festival centerpiece show. Renowned Dutch director Ivo van Hove and set designer Jan Versweyveld are known for presenting large works of theater, and After the Rehearsal/Persona employs the sweeping space with a huge set, including a 10,000-gallon pool of water. MORE INFO

Three Shows by Jo Strømgren Kompani

September 4-6 and 9-12, curtain times vary, FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard.

The world-renowned choreographer, director and playwright Jo Strømgren returns to FringeArts with a triptych of shows revealing the diversity of contemporary theater: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (September 4-6) and The Border and There, the latter two of which play back-to-back on the same evening (September 9-12). MORE INFO

Underground Railroad Game

September 2-6, 10-12, curtain times vary, Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street.

Philadelphia duo Jenn Kidwell and Scott Sheppard take on race relations in America through the lens of comedy, drama and absurdism. Inspired by real-life modern-day middle school lessons, the duet confronts racial issues through a host of comedic and tragic scenarios. MORE INFO

Underground Railroad Game
Inspired by Civil War games played in one of the co-creator and performers 5th grade class, Underground Railroad Game takes on reenactment culture gone wrong. (Photo by Tamara Rodriguez Reichberg)

For more Fringe picks, see below.

Available Light

September 10-12, 8 p.m., Drexel University Armory, 32nd and Cuthbert streets.

The remarkable result of three celebrated artists working in concert arrives in Philadelphia for a rarely seen production. A monumental work of dance, Available Light premiered more than 30 years ago in honor of the opening of the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art. With choreography by Lucinda Childs, music by John Adams and set design by architect Frank Gehry, the piece incorporates the beauty of dance with light, sound and architecture to present a stunning interdisciplinary encounter. MORE INFO

Still Standing You

September 9-11, 7 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street.

In a physical dance piece, two male dancers – Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido – perform scenes that express all of the ins-and-outs of male relationships. In something like a bromance on stage, Still Standing You is a dynamic, hilarious dance work. MORE INFO

Swamp is On

September 9-12, 8 p.m., Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.

When Philadelphia’s experimental theater troupe Pig Iron Theatre Company collaborates with one of the country’s most exciting bands, Philadelphia-based Dr. Dog, audiences should take note (and tickets, we predict, should sell out). Taking inspiration from Dr. Dog’s latest album, Pig Iron created a piece by the same name: Swamp is On. The new play, in which audiences should expect the unexpected, is followed by a live concert by Dr. Dog. And, heads up, the show is B.Y.O.M. (bring your own mixtape!) MORE INFO

BONUS: Feastival

FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, Thursday, September 17, 7-10 p.m.

Come Thursday, September 17, this city’s culinary artists rally to support FringeArts with the annual Feastival event, to be held for the very first time at FringeArts’ waterfront home. Tickets to the Feastival benefit event, which start at $300, are on sale here. Now, tickets can be had for $75 off with code VISITPHILLY2015! Until the event sells out, partygoers can save when purchasing online. MORE INFO


2015 Fringe Festival

When: September 3-19
Where: Multiple venues
Cost: Ticket prices vary, free-$45

Feastival 2015

When: Thursday, September 17, 7-10 p.m., VIP begins at 6 p.m.
Where: FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard
Cost: $300 general, $350 early access; Use code VISITPHILLY2015 for $75 off!
Feastival 2015
Experience culinary treats from more than 75 of Philadelphia’s top chefs and spectacular entertainment from Fringe Festival performers at Feastival 2015. (Photo by ShotsFired)

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