The Hollywood Fringe Festival is back and it’s wackier and more in your face than ever. Well, maybe not in your face exactly. Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 numbers, the event, which began on June 9 and continues thru next week, requires masks for indoor events and proof of vaccination or a negative test result (within 48 hours for PCR, 24 for antigen). The pandemic has not been easy on local theater, and the alternative scene has been particularly impacted, so it’s nice to see Fringe put safety first. But its subject matter and unique presentations are still anything but safe. From weirdo comedies to inventive improv shows, Hollywood Fringe provides a glimpse at the creativity and crazy/weighty ideas being conjured for stage in L.A.
Read our feature on Hollywood Fringe before the pandemic here.
A nice way to get acquainted with Fringe is to visit the community center at the festival, where Bryan’s Bar, Fringe concierge and special events can be found. FF’s outdoor social hub is just two blocks south of Theatre Row and offers happy hours, meet-ups and more. Upcoming social events include: Hollywood Fringe Bingo Night (Friday, June 17th, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.); a BIPOC at Fringe mixer (Saturday, June 18th, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.), and International Mixer (Sunday, June 19th, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.) and a Fringe Femmes Mixer (Friday, June 24th, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.). Below, our picks for a few shows that sound interesting, plus a sampler presentation for those who can’t decide.
More info on all events and shows at hollywoodfringe.org.
20th Century Art: An Anthology – Thomas Vohasek’s new play explores fictional meetings of 20th century artists during pivotal moments of history and in their own lives. J.R.R. Tolkien meets Ernest Hemingway in the Trenches of World War One, for example. John Lennon’s ghost visits David Bowie on the night of his murder is another. The possibilities are endlessly intriguing. 520 N. Western Ave.; Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m. More at flattiretheatre.org
Queen of Fishtown – Actor, writer, director, comedian Katierose Donohue Enriquez’s one woman show delves into a woman’s struggle to maintain her authenticity while facing life changes and transitions in her family, as well as her Fishtown, Philadelphia neighborhood. The Studio at the Broadwater Theater Company, 1078 Lillian Way; Friday, June 17, 11 p.m.; Saturday, June 18, 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, June 19 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, June 21, 5 p.m. Tickets Here.
Love Chicken – Non-binary playwright Maddox K. Pennington’s new work explores identity, belonging, choices, and love in the queer and trans community. Romantic and platonic dynamics come into play as do conflicts over jealousy and trust, all unfolding over a planned weekend getaway. Asylum at McCadden Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Pl; Saturday, June 18, 3:30 p.m. Tickets here.
All American – Lynn Grant Beck looks at the profound loneliness in American society and mental illness struggles that seem to have taken hold of our youth and led to tragedies such as school shootings. The timely and topical subject matter is meant to be inspiring and hopeful. Meshing comedy and time travel, it is told via two families from different eras grappling with the fears we are all facing at the moment. Asylum at McCadden Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Pl; Friday, June 17 @9 p.m.; Sunday, June 19 @ 2 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, 6:30 p.m. Tickets here.
Pick of the Fringe – The above are just a few shows getting buzz, but Fringe has a lot to choose from and admittedly it’s hard to know what you’re getting simply from reading show descriptions. Hidden gems are always sure to emerge. If you can’t decide which shows to see Matthew Quinn of Combined Artform and Michael Blaha of Fringe Management are here to help with this presentation rounding up the best of the fest. Just this week, the judges picked their faves across every genre, including drama, comedy, solo shows, musicals, cabaret and variety and will present them as a sampler stage show. Stephanie Feury Studio Theater, 5636 Melrose Ave.; Thursday June 16, 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 18, 9:30 p.m.; Friday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. Tickets here.