Friday, August 14, 2009

NY Fringe Festival Starts Today

I have 25 shows on my schedule for the NY Fringe Festival, a fun romp through "what's new out there" in the theater world.

My selections are based on which shows fit in my schedule, which have a worthwhile religious theme and those offerings for which I think it might be worth sitting in a confined unairconditioned sweat box (which some of the Fringe venues can be) to see while avoiding those that might cause me to wretch or sit gaping with my mouth open in horror or disgust (some of the Fringe shows are out there, to put it mildly.)

We'll post abbreviated reviews of the shows here beginning Aug. 23.
New York friends, if you would like to venture with me to some Fringe shows Aug. 24-Aug 30, let me know by email. Thanks to all of you who passed along suggestions. I couldn't schedle all of them, but some worked!
-- Lauren Yarger

Here are the shows I'll be seeing and some information about them:

Threads Theater Company
Writer: Monica Flory
Director: Misti Wills
Twilight. A flutter, quick and light. A wolf howls. An accident. Ordinary lives collide with the supernatural. Inspired by surrealist photography, Afterlight is the story of a small community clinging to hope amidst unsettling events.
1h 30m Local Manhattan, NY Drama
VENUE #14: The Cherry Lane Theatre
Fri 14 @ 7:15 Wed 19 @ 3 Thu 20 @ 7:15 Sat 22 @ 12 Tue 25 @ 5:45

Super Friend
Taproot Theatre Company
Writer: Bethany Wallace
Director: Josiah Wallace
Marvel is a super-hero, but doesn’t know how to be a super-friend…yet. At SuperCamp Professor Nemesis plans to strip super-kids of their powers. Marvel learns how to be a good friend and with his friends, saves the day
1h 0m National Seattle, WA FringeJR Comedy /grades-k-through-six/ Share Show
VENUE #14: The Cherry Lane Theatre
Tue 18 @ 8:30 Wed 19 @ 5:15 Thu 20 @ 5:30 Fri 21 @ 7:15 Sat 22 @ 2:15

Jesus Ride
Deux Ex Productions
Writer: Mike Schlitt
Director: Nancy Keystone
Journey through the first 100 years of the Savior on the silver screen: 33 films about Jesus Christ and confessions of the secular humanist non-practicing Jew who watched every one. The 2006 Outstanding Solo Show winner returns with a FringeNYC World Premiere.
1h 20m National Los Angeles, CA Solo Show Comedy
VENUE #18: HERE Arts Center - Dorothy B. Williams Theater
Sun 16 @ 7:45 Thu 20 @ 7:45 Sat 22 @ 5 Sat 22 @ 9:45 Tue 25 @ 7:45 Sat 29 @ 3:15

MoM - A Rock Concert Musical
5 Mothers
Writer: Richard Caliban
Director: Richard Caliban
Five suburban moms start a rock band just for laughs and inadvertently become a phenomenon. Man oh man do their lives change.
2h 0m Local Manhattan, NY Musical Comedy
VENUE #2: CSV Cultural and Edu. Cntr. Flamboyan
Fri 14 @ 9:30 Mon 17 @ 5:15 Sat 22 @ 6:15 Mon 24 @ 2:15 Sun 30 @ 12

all over.
The Fugitives
Writer: Elizabeth Audley
Director: Michael Page
She's gone to look for America. She still hasn't found what she's looking for. (You can't always get what you want.) Don't stop believin' - it's a beautiful day. A story about optimism, patriotism, and driving around.
1h 20m Local Brooklyn, NY Comedy Solo Show
VENUE #11: The Actors' Playhouse
Mon 17 @ 3:30 Mon 17 @ 7:30 Mon 24 @ 5:15 Mon 24 @ 9:30 Wed 26 @ 2

The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour
W. Kamau Bell
Writer: W. Kamau Bell
Black president or not, racism continues to make a comeback. And Kamau is here to make (non)sense of it all, using multi-media and personal stories. According to Comedy Central, Kamau told the very first Obama joke way back in 2005.
1h 15m National San Francisco, CA FringeHIGH Solo Show
VENUE #9: The Players Loft
Mon 17 @ 2:15 Fri 21 @ 8:30 Sat 22 @ 6:45 Sun 23 @ 10:30 Mon 24 @ 7:15 Sat 29 @ 5

Home is the Sailor, Home From Sea
WeThree Productions
Writer: Alex Coppola
Director: Alex Coppola
Shouldn’t you bury it? After hitting and killing a deer on the way home from the funeral of a friend, three young men are confronted with crushing pangs of guilt, questions of closure and the impossibility of saying goodbye.
1h 30m Local Manhattan, NY Drama Comedy
VENUE #1: CSV Cultural and Edu. Cntr. Milagro
Sat 15 @ 12 Mon 24 @ 9:15 Wed 26 @ 3 Fri 28 @ 7 Sat 29 @ 2:45

Looming the Memory
Thomas Papathanassiou
Writer: Thomas Papathanassiou
Director: John Saunders
18 characters and a chicken! An award-winning theatrical memoir exploring one man's challenge growing up with his heart in two parts of the world, and how our family stories play an integral part in shaping who we are.
1h 10m International Perth, Australia Solo Show Drama
VENUE #7: manhattan theatre source
Sat 22 @ 12 Tue 25 @ 5 Wed 26 @ 9:15 Fri 28 @ 7:15 Sat 29 @ 5

ETCH Dance Co.
Choreographer: Elisha Clark Halpin
Displacement in Darfur, unrequited love, warfare, devastation, compassion, & desire; Testify takes you there and everywhere in between. Dancing the blues, women unleash the deep places of their hearts. Jagged and angular movements illustrate the physical embodiment of emotional truth.
0h 30m National State College, PA Dance FringeHIGH
VENUE #6: The Robert Moss Theater
Tue 25 @ 8:15 Wed 26 @ 4:15 Thu 27 @ 5:45 Sat 29 @ 8:45 Sun 30 @ 3:30

Sunday Best
Azddak Performances
Writer: Laura Canty-Samuel, Music by Laura Canty-Samuel and Ethan Forrest Wagner
Hallelujah! One woman, ten characters and a wicked romp through the devilishly funny minds of members of a Black Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn. Questions of faith, loss, and hat size abound amid irreverent “ridiculosity”, punctuated with live gospel music.
1h 30m Local Brooklyn, NY Solo Show Comedy
VENUE #3: Dixon Place
Sat 15 @ 9 Sun 16 @ 1:30 Sat 22 @ 11:45 Tue 25 @ 10 Fri 28 @ 6

Shelf Life
The Arcade
Writer: Molly Goforth
Director: JV Mercanti
Beat the Heat: Come see the coolest show at FringeNYC! Shelf Life puts you in the middle of the drama unfolding behind the closed door of an ordinary refrigerator. You'll never look at your fridge in the same way again.
1h 25m Local Manhattan, NY Drama Comedy
VENUE #2: CSV Cultural and Edu. Cntr. Flamboyan
Fri 14 @ 7:15 Sun 16 @ 1:30 Thu 20 @ 3:30 Sat 22 @ 4 Wed 26 @ 2

Series 6.2: Paint on Canvas
HumanWell Productions
Writer: Becca Hackett and Katherine Randle
Director: Ilana Becker
Armed with words and paint, two artists engage in a playful battle on a life-sized canvas. Tackling their greatest demons and joys, they bring new artwork to life with each unrestrained, paint slinging performance. Do YOU human well?
0h 35m Local Brooklyn, NY Performance Art
VENUE #17: HERE Arts Center - Mainstage Theater
Sun 23 @ 9:15 Wed 26 @ 6:15 Fri 28 @ 4:30 Fri 28 @ 7 Sat 29 @ 2:30

And She Said, He Said, I Said Yes
DRD Productions
Writer: Harrison David Rivers
Director: Eric Louie & Anika Chapin
Post breakup, three women attempt to make sense of their lives. In recounting stories of weight gain, drunk dials, flying milk cartons, Facebook stalking, and hair growth, they explore the very nature of love, loss, and ultimately their own humanity.
1h 35m Local New York, NY Drama Comedy
VENUE #18: HERE Arts Center - Dorothy B. Williams Theater
Fri 14 @ 9:15 Sat 15 @ 1:15 Sun 16 @ 4:45 Fri 21 @ 5:15 Wed 26 @ 7 Thu 27 @ 9:30

Gideon Productions, LLC
Writer: Mac Rogers
Director: Jordana Williams
A woman googles "painless suicide" and finds the people who will help her end her life - if she'll let them film it. And sell it. A pitch black comedy from two-time FringeNYC award winner Mac Rogers.
1h 45m Local Brooklyn, NY Drama Comedy
VENUE #16: The SoHo Playhouse
Sat 15 @ 7:30 Sun 16 @ 6 Wed 19 @ 3 Sun 23 @ 10 Wed 26 @ 9:45

NO HOPE Productions
Writer: Tim Aumiller
Director: Tim Aumiller
On the eve of an early winter storm, two strangers are forced together by sheer proximity at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. While waiting for their lives to resume, they find refuge and danger in revealing themselves.
0h 50m Local Brooklyn, NY Comedy Drama
VENUE #15: The Studio at Cherry Lane
Fri 14 @ 7 Tue 18 @ 9:30 Wed 19 @ 10:30 Thu 20 @ 2 Sat 22 @ 6:15 Thu 27 @ 5:15

just don't touch me, amigo
Fernando Gambaroni
Writer: Fernando Gambaroni
Director: Jose Zayas
A comedy about loneliness in the city and the alienating process of becoming a resident alien.
1h 10m Local New York, NY Solo Show Comedy
VENUE #7: manhattan theatre source
Sat 15 @ 2 Wed 19 @ 9 Sat 22 @ 9:15 Wed 26 @ 3 Thu 27 @ 9:30

The Confessional
The Cohort Theatre Company
Writer: Jayson Akridge
Director: Jayson Akridge
Mild-mannered teacher, Stanley Prentiss, confesses to a horrific murder which may or may not have happened. The detectives on the case must journey into the innermost darkness a human soul is capable of in order to discover the truth.
2h 15m Virginia Beach, VA Drama
VENUE #1: CSV Cultural and Edu. Cntr. Milagro
Sun 23 @ 9 Thu 27 @ 9 Fri 28 @ 2:15 Sat 29 @ 7 Sun 30 @ 2

Pennyfield Productions
Writer: Barri Tsavaris
Director: Steve Wargo
A girl from Long Island embarks on a fanatical search for truth, love and religion through the music of U2. Her 20-year journey explores the challenge of finding yourself when following something else. A rock-and-roll adventure for fans of anything!
1h 30m Local New York, NY Comedy Drama
VENUE #11: The Actors' Playhouse
Sat 15 @ 8:30 Sun 16 @ 3:15 Thu 20 @ 2 Sat 22 @ 12 Fri 28 @ 5:15

Mercurial Productions
Writer: Book and Lyrics by Natalie Weiss, Music by Natalie Weiss, Conrad Winslow and Travis Stewart
Director: Natalie Weiss
Spirit-soaked and hormone-charged, two 13-year-old girls fall in love at Christian summer camp. Live orchestra. Sick beats. Songs like "We All Need Jesus in Our Lives," and "Let's Ride Bareback." This nostalgic musical is super futuristic.
1h 30m Local Brooklyn, NY Musical Comedy
VENUE #3: Dixon Place
Sat 15 @ 1:30 Sun 16 @ 11 Tue 18 @ 7 Fri 28 @ 8:15 Sat 29 @ 3:1

George and Laura Bush Perform . . . Our Favorite Sitcom Episodes
NOTE: This show, originally on the list, will not be reviewed because of a schedule conflict.

Look After You
Maieutic Theatre Works-MTWorks
Writer: Louise Flory
Director: Michele Pace
MTWorks (Anais Nin Goes To Hell) returns with "Look After You". When a photographer's life is threatened by illness, everything she thought was secure turns upside-down, testing friendships, family and love.
1h 30m Local Manhattan, NY Drama
VENUE #16: The SoHo Playhouse
Fri 14 @ 5 Sun 16 @ 3 Wed 19 @ 8:15 Fri 28 @ 9:30 Sat 29 @ 1:30

ARTIFEX. The Artistic Life of Emperor Nero.
The Artifex Company
Writer: Davide Ambrogi, Original Music by Davide Ambrogi
Director: Velia Viti
An opportunity to call into question the main themes and problems most frequently present in the life of an artist. The Italian Artifex Company leads you on a psychological trip into the artist's mind through comedy, drama, dance and music.
1h 20m International Rome, Italy Comedy Drama
VENUE #14: The Cherry Lane Theatre
Thu 20 @ 9:30 Sat 22 @ 9:45 Tue 25 @ 9:45 Wed 26 @ 4:45 Sat 29 @ 5

Damon and Debra
B Train Productions
Writer: Judy Chicurel
Director: Passion Hansome
On a stalled subway train shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Damon, a distrustful young African American male, meets Debra, a feisty, middle-aged white woman. Race, relationships, and startling personal revelations pave the way for a provocative interaction.
1h 30m Local Brooklyn, NY Drama FringeHIGH
VENUE #15: The Studio at Cherry Lane
Mon 17 @ 8:30 Tue 18 @ 7:15 Fri 21 @ 4:45 Tue 25 @ 5:45 Fri 28 @ 7 Sat 29 @ 8

White Horses: An Irish Childhood
Breaking Tide
Writer: Owen Dara
Director: Elizabeth Duck & Dan Toscano
Based on his acclaimed memoir, comedian Owen Dara brings to life his Irish childhood. Through portrayals of his militant mother, bewildering father, and juvenile self, he leads a hilarious journey filled with passion, insight, and a whole lot of laughs.
1h 20m National Los Angeles, CA Comedy Solo Show
VENUE #7: manhattan theatre source
Sat 15 @ 7 Tue 18 @ 5 Tue 25 @ 9 Thu 27 @ 7:15 Sun 30 @ 12

Imagine Project Inc
Writer: Children of Imagine Project workshops
Director: Bill Bartlett
Choreographer: Annie Faulkner
All original music and story lines are a result of improvisations created by the young actors. More than half the performers have been cast from the children participating in our creativity programs in NYC homeless shelters.
1h 5m Local Brooklyn, NY FringeJR Musical
VENUE #2: CSV Cultural and Edu. Cntr. Flamboyan
Sat 15 @ 12 Sun 16 @ 3:45 Thu 20 @ 7:30 Thu 27 @ 6 Sun 30 @ 2:45

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York in February 2018.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle. and the Episcopal Actors' Guild.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2018 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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