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.
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
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