IndyFringe Celebrates Lucky 13 Aug. 17-27

For 11 days, Mass Ave. will be a glorious creative carnival of theatre, dance, music, comedy, street performers, magic, and a hint of chaos at IndyFringe. This, their 13th year, follows on the heels of a wildly successful 2016 Fringe.
So what is a Fringe Festival? The first Fring popped up in the 1940s when eight theatre companies showsed up at the Edinburgh International Festival, where they hoped to get attention for their work from the throngs of people who gathered to see the big performances. Setting up around the big Festival, on the fringe, they performed avant garde theatre for people who loved theatre and heard about the short plays and performances. Based on the popularity of that first venture, Edinburgh Fringe Festival was born — and the idea spread into large cities, then smaller ones. IndyFringe is an unjuried festival — artists from all over submit their work, and they are selected first-come, first served. Half of the fun of IndyFringe is finding startlingly great performers where you least expect them. And seeing old favorites with a fresh new vibe.
Tickets are an affordable $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and under 12 for $10. Tickets are available online at with a small service charge (you can purchase tickets up to 1 hour before each performance). Call 317-308-9800 to purchase tickets in advance with a credit card (service fee applies) and pick them up at well-call box offices. You migh get lucky and find not-sold-out shows, in which you pay CASH ONLY at the venue’s box office. Save yourself some cash by getting a Fiver Pass for $55 (if any are available, limited to 250). If you really want to see a show, get a ticket reserved to be on the safe side. The Central Box office will be in the Firefighters Union Hall, 748 Mass Ave. Do not be late to shows; they run on a tight schedule and they will not let you in after the doors have closed!IndyFringe-Fest-2017-logo
There are eight venues for IndyFringe, all within walking distance: Firehouse Theatre is at 748 Mass Ave., Comedy Sportz at 721 Mass Ave., Theatre on the Square at 627 Mass Ave.(2 stages), The Phoenix at 749 N. Park Ave. (2 stages), and  IndyFringe (2 stages). Free parking is available at the Coke Plant just south of 10th (a three minute walk to the theatres) from 5-11 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and noon-midnight Sat. and Sun. You can park in metered parking, bike in and chain it up at several locations, or take BlueIndy. Be prepared for large crowds on Friday and Saturday nights (date nights!) where you will be competing for space with the many restaurants and bars in the area.
With 88 acts ranging from the bawdy and profane to serious and thought-provoking, it is hard to choose what you’ll see. There really is something for everyone, if you look closely. All shows run one hour. Visit for listings and descriptions of the shows, check the schedules to see what fits into your schedule, and go. We have a few suggestions, of course.
• Never, ever miss EclecticPond’s shows. This year’s is “Drankspeare: To Beer or Not to Beer” at ComedySportz. Last year they did the hilarious drunk version of Romeo and Juliet; this year they take on Hamlet. We fully expect drunken sword fights and some hysterically inappropriate scenes involving a skull. They sell out so get tickets as soon as possible.
• The self-proclaimed liberal hillbilly standup comedian Stewart Huff is a Fringe favorite (and hard-to-get-ticket). This year’s show is “Sense Ain’t Common,” and although he comes from Georgia, he loves his Indy crowds.
• Theatre on the Square’s Mainstage offerings tend to be the larger productions, and three of them are dance shows. Get tickets ASAP for the always sold out Dance Kaleidoscope, this year showing “Divos (The Men) Workshop.” The Indianapolis School of Ballet brings “Beyond Ballet Remix” in a family-friendly original program. “IndyScape” from Crossroads Dance Indy ties Indianapolis and beloved locations into a variety of family-friendly dance forms. “CabarGAY” by the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus promises to be better than “Cats,” and they probably will be. Also, NoExit will bring back their production of “The Beast, The Lady, and the Sanguine Man,” which is multi-media comedy that is on the not-to-be-missed list.
• Very much looking forward to “The Fever” with Pat O’Brien, who has given exceptional shows at IndyFringe before with “Under the Lintel” and “Whisper Into My Good Ear.” This is a veteran dramatic actor who always brings something important to the table. Get tickets early. Word gets out.
• For some family-friendly shows, check out “The Secret of Castle Alphabet” at Indy Eleven Theatre, a production of HeARTbeat Theatre Productions. It’s a story about a mysterious castle and a legend about the true heir to the kingdom. At IndyFringe Basile Theatre, “Going Down” from Indianapolis resident Robert Broemel, is a divine comedy thriller. For older kids, “Beauty and the Beast” by The 7th Artistry at the Phoenix Mainstage is a take on the turn-of-the-century Chicago World’s Fair.
Whichever shows you choose, remember that 80 percent of ticket sales go directly back to the performers, which continues to feed (literally and figuratively) the creative arts in Indianapolis.