Do you have your comfy walking shoes, shorts and t-shirt ready for Thursday night? That’s our first taste of the Minnesota Fringe Festival and by Saturday the sidewalks and lobbies will be full of avid Fringers dishing recommendations and pans.

I posted some titles from the first Fringe Preview that seemed worthy of a chance. Last Monday’s second preview yielded these possibilities. Again, this is based on three minutes of what you have to assume is the best face the producers could put forward. Go to the Fringe site for more details.


“The Jungle Book” seemed so charming in a little song; “The Confederate” is an interesting story; “Fifth Planet” (at left) is by David Auburn (“Proof”) so it has a pedigree; “Mainly Me Productions’ Our American Assassin” has Shanan Custer – good enough for me; Same with Sam Landman in “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty;” “Into the Unreal City” is a musical that seemed good in preview; “Sole Mates: An Almost Romantic Comedy” is iffy but maybe worth a look; “The Finkles Theater Show” has a clumsy humor that’s well done; “Hi! Hello! Namaste?” had an exciting, slightly ragged and energizing dance in the preview that had me writing “Yes!” until they got to the wooden dialogue; “The Sex (Ed) Show!” (below right) should be enjoyable, the Dirty Curls; “Shakespeare Apocalypse: A New Musical” was great – again, for three minutes.


Glancing through the schedule yielded a few other nuggets that weren’t seen in preview. So this is based

strictly on reputations and hunches (isn’t that how the world works?).


“Amateur Hour” has the Scrimshaw magic, Levi Weinhagen, Joe Bozic and Mike Fotis. Great potential. Speaking of Fotis, he’s back with “Fotis Canyon,” which sounds like Mike sitting around telling funny stories. Fotis is always worth the effort.

Colleen Kruse and Karen Paurus team up for “Becoming Inga.” Funny story teller, great singer and lots of blue material. Definitely worth considering.

I love the Ausland boys, Andy and Rick. They’re back with “Buckets and Tap Shoes” this year. If you need to get your heart re-started, this is the show.

“Crime and Punishment” has this going for it: Live Action Set in the basement of the Soap Factory. ‘Nuff said.


"Unreal City" at the Fringe Preview No. 2. All photos by Renee Schneider Jones.


“Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend” is by Hardcover Theater, which does well with its literary adaptations. More traditional for those who want to feel like they are actually watching a real play at the Fringe.

“Habibi” has James A. Williams in the cast. Not often you see a Broadway actor in the Fringe. “History of Minnesota – Unscripted” has the imprimatur of Theater of Public Policy. “Native Man” is a new musical by Minneapolis playwright Rhiana Yazzie. “Natural Novice” is an out of towner that has gotten some good notice at other festivals.

I like Minnesota history, so “The Ohman Stone” caught my eye. It’s about the controversy over whether the Kensington Runestone is real or a fake. “One Arm” is a Moises Kaufman project using a Tennessee Williams screenplay. Those are pretty good names.

I trust Nautilus Music Theater implicitly so “Reach” should be well worth your musical tastes; “Real Dead Ghosts” is by a New York company that has done good work in this Fringe. You can also trust Peter Moore to do well with “The Second Oldest Profession,” a memoir of sorts of his 40 years in the biz.

Some Shakespeare buffs are putting together “Twelfth Night” and “What You Will,” two pieces of the same script, it appears (I could be wrong). Terry Hempleman, Catherine Johnson Justice, Alayne Hopkins, Sasha Andreev and Sam Bardwell are some of the actors involved. Very impressive.

Finally, “Four Humors Do Every Show in the Fringe” banks on this talented gang of pranksters to find something funny in each of the other 168 shows in the festival.

Otherwise, look for reviews starting Friday morning online at Star Tribune.    

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