The 28th annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival showcases 30+ LGBTQ shows

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival returns to Loch Haven Park and surrounding venues for its 28th season May 14-27.

The folks at Orlando Fringe reviewed the applications of more than 350 shows and whittled them down to 140, including 33 LGBTQ-themed shows. They will play at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre and the Orlando Museum of Art, as well as a handful of venues throughout the area including the Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park and Savoy Orlando. It will also be the final year for The Venue Orlando’s “Black Venue” and the first year for The LGBT+ Center Orlando, which will be home to the newly-named “Rainbow Venue.”

“I think we’ve kind of reached a point where we can’t grow too much more inside the park,” says Festival Producer Michael Marinaccio. “The independent venue program has increased for us and artists realize that they can sell tickets now if they go to Breakthrough or The Venue or Savoy, and now The Center. So the quality of those shows has gone up and there’s really phenomenal work being presented outside of Loch Haven Park.”

If the thought of organizing 140 shows among a dozen theaters seems daunting, don’t you worry because Orlando Fringe has you covered. After a hugely popular debut last year, the Fringe-O-Matic is back.

“People last year loved it, they went nuts for it,” Marinaccio says. “It doesn’t matter if you are someone who wants to see 20 shows, or if you are one of those people who come out and see 60 to 100 shows, the Fringe-O-Matic makes it so much easier for everyone to maximize their time.”

Lewis Johnston, a festival uber-fan and Fringe’s de facto IT guy, created the Fringe-O-Matic to aide him in making the perfect schedule. He contacted Orlando Fringe last year to tell them what he created and offered it to all festival goers free of charge.

Go to FringeOMatic.com and enter your availability. Then, go through the schedule and rate each show based on your interest level. The Fringe-O-Matic will turn out the perfect Fringe schedule for you.

“For those people who want to really see a lot of Fringe shows, it has made it a lot easier for them to navigate the festival. It’s really kind of an ingenious thing,” Marinaccio says.

Something else is different this year at the festival: there is a brand new bar and there will be a new system for getting your drinks in the park.

“A couple of us here, we actually built a new bar,” Marinaccio says. “We found out we have a lot more carpentry skills than we thought we did.”

The new bar will place all beer, wine and liquor in the same location in the park. It will also allow you to purchase drinks directly from the bar instead of having to obtain drink tickets. The new bar will also have the ability to take debit and credit cards as well as cash.

“That includes merchandise as well. There’s no more cash only here at the Fringe. So yeah, we’ve finally come to the late 20th century,” Marinaccio laughs.

We know that it can be overwhelming—even with the Fringe-O-Matic—deciding what shows to see and which artists to support, so we have gathered together information on as many LGBTQ-themed shows as we could find and put it together in the following pages as a handy dandy guide.

Whether you use Watermark, the Fringe-O-Matic or just walk up to the counter and purchase a ticket blindly; make sure you go out to the festival, see some shows, support performers and enjoy being with the community.

“6 of VIII: The Six Wives of Henry VIII”

By: Opera Orlando (Orlando)

Venue: Silver | Length: 45 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 6 p.m.; May 18, 6:45 p.m.; May 21, 9:45 p.m.; May 25, 9 p.m.; May 26, 2 p.m.

The six ill-fated queens of the second Tudor king share their experiences.

“A Briefs History of Time”

By: Boylesque T.O. (Toronto, Canada)

Venue: Orange | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 18, 9:45 p.m.; May 19, 7 p.m.; May 20, 9:15 p.m.; May 22, 7:45 p.m.; May 24, 9:30 p.m.; May 25, 10 p.m.; May 26, 8:30 p.m.

The all-male burlesque troupe is back with an adventure of ass-tronomical proportions.

“And Then Came Tango”

By: Windermere High School Troupe 8483 (Windermere, FL)

Venue: Silver | Length: 45 Minutes

Showtimes: May 19, 6:30 p.m.; May 25, 11:30 a.m.

Inspired by the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins living at the Central Park Zoo.

“Animatronicans: Under New Management”

By: Mo Laughs Comedy (Orlando)

Venue: Gold | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 9:15 p.m.; May 19, 10:45 p.m.; May 20, 7:45 p.m.; May 23, 6:45 p.m.; May 25, 10:45 p.m.; May 26, 3:15 p.m.

Join the mechanical family as their peaceful life is turned upside down when a certain redhead from the Caribbean moves in.

“Are You Smarter Than A Bartender?”

By: Jell-Shot Hershey Tequila/Llewellyn Productions (Orlando)

Venue: Savoy | Length: 45 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 12:30 a.m.; May 18, 10:45 p.m.; May 25, 5:40 p.m.

Divine Grace hosts as audience members compete with the help or hindrance of actual Savoy bartenders in varying states of sobriety.

“Blue and Tod: Back in Black Cabaret”

By: Blue LaLa Entertainment (Orlando)

Venue: Black | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 7:30 p.m.; May 18, 4:30 p.m.; May 19, 6 p.m.; May 22, 7:30 p.m.; May 24, 7:30 p.m.; May 25, 7:30 p.m.

After 6 years, Blue Star and Tod Kimbro are Back in Black at The Venue for the last time.

“Clown Bar”

By: Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park (Winter Park, FL)

Venue: Breakthrough Theatre | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 6:50 p.m.; May 18, 11:35 p.m.; May 19, 3 p.m.; May 21, 6:50 p.m.; May 24, 6:50 p.m.; May 25, 10 p.m.; May 26, 7:45 p.m.

A noir play about a former clown who has returned to the seedy underground crime world to find his brother’s killer.

“Corsets and Cuties: Celebrate”

By: Corsets and Cuties, LLC (Casselberry, FL)

Venue: Black | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 11:59 p.m.; May 18, 10:30 p.m.; May 23, 10:30 p.m.; May 25, 11:59 p.m.

Corsets & Cuties perform with a different guest star each night so you never know what will happen.

“Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard”

By: Dandy Darkly (Brooklyn, NY)

Venue: Green | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 8:45 p.m.; May 18, 10:45 p.m.; May 19, 2:15 p.m.; May 22, 9 p.m.; May 25, 9 p.m.; May 26, 2:45 p.m.

Dandy Darkly serves up another audacious hour of hypnotic Southern Gothic grotesquery.

“Daphne and Me: A Boy Meets Girl Story”

By: That One Guy Productions (Orlando)

Venue: The Center Orlando | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 9:30 p.m.; May 18, 8:30 p.m.; May 19, 6:30 p.m.; May 23, 6:45 p.m.; May 24, 10:45 p.m.; May 25, 6:30 p.m.; May 26, 3 p.m.

A one (wo)man show about who you love, who you are and who you long to be.

“Flame and Fortune”

By: Wanzie Presents (Orlando)

Venue: Savoy | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 7:25 p.m.; May 18, 5:55 p.m.; May 19, 3:20 p.m.; May 22, 9:20 p.m.; May 24, 9:20 p.m.; May 25, 4 p.m.

The most outrageous electronic game show in town. Hosted by Wanzie and Miss Sammy.

“From Here”

By: Donald Rupe Productions (Orlando)

Venue: Orange | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 15, 9 p.m.; May 18, 2:15 p.m.; May 19, 8:45 p.m.; May 21, 10:30 p.m.; May 25, 8:15 p.m.; May 26, 6:45 p.m.

An Orlando native trys his best to balance love, his difficult mother and all the things life throws at him.

“Geography and Plays”

By: miR theater (Rockledge, FL)

Venue: Brown | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 18, 1:30 p.m.; May 20, 8 p.m.; May 23, 5:30 p.m.; May 25, 4:45 p.m.

A new assemblage of plays and portraits by the mother of modernist literature, Gertrude Stein.

“Goodbye”

By: JMJ Productions (Orlando)

Venue: Green | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 7:45 p.m.; May 18, 3:30 p.m.; May 20, 7:15 p.m.; May 22, 5:30 p.m.; May 23, 10 p.m.; May 25, 3:30 p.m.; May 26, 1 p.m.

From the creative team behind last year’s “HELLO.” A new play, based on a true story.

“Ingenue”

By: Melanie Gall Presents (New York, NY)

Venue: Blue | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 7:30 p.m.; May 18, 7 p.m.; May 19, 1 p.m.; May 21, 7 p.m.; May 22, 7:30 p.m.; May 25, 5:45 p.m.; May 26, 2 p.m.

“Ingenue” tells the true tale of the lifelong friendship and rivalry of Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland.

“Lady/Ladyboys of The Peek-a-boo Lounge”

By: Blue LaLa Entertainment (Orlando)

Venue: Black | Length: 55 Minutes

Showtimes: May 22, 10:30 p.m.; May 24, 10:30 p.m.

Orlando’s favorite burlesque groups, the Ladies and Lady Boys of The Peek-a-boo Lounge, together in one show.

“Leviticus”

By: JC Theatre Company (Orlando)

Venue: Yellow | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 18, 12 p.m.; May 19, 4:30 p.m.; May 25, 11:45 a.m.; May 26, 1:30 p.m.

Levi is supported by family and church after coming out, but that support is tested.

“Mean Gays”

By: DanaMakes (Winter Garden, FL)

Venue: Pink | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 15, 9 p.m.; May 17, 11 p.m.; May 18, 7:15 p.m.; May 19, 11 p.m.; May 20, 5:30 p.m.; May 24, 9 p.m.; May 25, 10:45 p.m.

From the twisted minds of “The Spielers” and last year’s hit, “Oh Hi, Johnny!” comes a new parody that’s definitely too gay to function.

“Meatball Seance”

By: John Michael (Chicago, IL)

Venue: Green | Length: 55 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 7 p.m.; May 18, 7:15 p.m.; May 20, 10:45 p.m.; May 22, 7:15 p.m.; May 24, 5:45 p.m.; May 25, 1:45 p.m.; May 26, 4:30 p.m.

John Michael needs your help cooking his mom’s meatballs onstage to summon her from the dead to meet/approve his new boyfriend, played by the audience.

“Pack Animals”

By: Scantily Glad Theatre (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

Venue: Orange | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 8:15 p.m.; May 19, 4:45 p.m.; May 22, 6 p.m.; May 24, 7:45 p.m.; May 25, 4:20 p.m.; May 26, 1 p.m.

After getting lost in the woods, a multi-badged Woodpecker and a wildernessly-inept Beaver must set aside their differences to find their way home.

“PeeVira’s SCAREavan SingAlong: 80s Baby”

By: The Fringy Mime Queen of DulceArt (Orlando)

Venue: A van in the Fringe parking lot | Length: 35 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 17, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 18, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 19, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 23, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 24, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 25, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.; May 26, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.

Hop in Madame PeeVira’s spooky SCAREavan for a fun, absurd and sensational 30-minute 80’s sing-along satire.

“Pepe’s Playhouse”

By: SAK Comedy Lab (Orlando)

Venue: Silver | Length: 18 & Up

Showtimes: May 15, 9:15 p.m.; May 18, 10:45 p.m.; May 21, 11:30 p.m.; May 24, 8:45 p.m.; May 25, 10:45 p.m.

What happens when Pepe and SAK Comedy Lab team up to take over America’s favorite Playhouse (Yes, that Playhouse)? It’s a wild party full of sketch comedy, Improv, music and probably a few scandals.

“She Kills Monsters”

By: Dr. Phillips High School Theatre Magnet (Orlando)

Venue: Orange | Length: 90 Minutes

Showtimes: May 15, 6:45 p.m.; May 17, 6 p.m.; May 18, 12 p.m.; May 20, 7 p.m.; May 21, 6:30 p.m.; May 23, 6 p.m.; May 25, 2 p.m.

Agnes Evans’ mundane existence comes to a halt when she embarks on a game of Dungeons & Dragons to learn more about her dead sister, Tilly.

“Show of Force”

By: Skinned Knee Productions (New York, NY)

Venue: Red | Length: 55 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 7:30 p.m.; May 19, 7 p.m.; May 22, 5:30 p.m.; May 25, 3 p.m.

A powerful dramatization of young military women coming home.

“Spare the Rod”

By: Paris Crayton III (New York, NY)

Venue: The Center Orlando | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 6:45 p.m.; May 18, 7 p.m.; May 19, 8 p.m.; May 23, 10:15 p.m.; May 24, 9:15 p.m.; May 25, 5 p.m.; May 26, 4:30 p.m.

Told through music and monologue, “Spare the Rod” sheds light on what happens after dealing with years of physical abuse, neglect and coming to terms with one’s sexuality.

“Static”

By: New Vintage Ensemble (New Orleans, LA)

Venue: Purple | Length: 50 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 8:45 p.m.; May 18, 5 p.m.; May 19, 6:30 p.m.; May 21, 10 p.m.; May 25, 9 p.m.; May 26, 4:30 p.m.

Tells the story of a father and son taking a long delayed road trip. Dementia, music and family are at the core of this new play.

“Strange Bedfellows”

By: John Ryan and His DIVAS (Orlando)

Venue: Pink | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 11 p.m.; May 18, 5:15 p.m.; May 20, 10:45 p.m.; May 23, 9:15 p.m.; May 25, 9 p.m.; May 26, 10:15 p.m.

The story of husbands (Eddie Cooper and John Ryan) and their heartfelt and hilarious journey from Queens to Orlando via the lights of Broadway, the Blues of the South and the roar of popular radio.

“Super Variety Match Bonus Round”

By: Jouska Productions (Orlando)

Venue: Green | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 11 p.m.; May 18, 5:30 p.m.; May 21, 7:45 p.m.; May 24, 10:45 p.m.; May 26, 6:45 p.m.

This rollicking comedy explores the difficulty of moving on and the psychedelic side effects of fear your doctor may not have warned you about.

“The Agony and Ivories”

By: Grown Man Productions (Chicago, IL)

Venue: Brown | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 7:15 p.m.; May 18, 3:15 p.m.; May 20, 6:15 p.m.; May 21, 8:15 p.m.; May 23, 10:45 p.m.; May 24, 5:30 p.m.; May 25, 7 p.m.

Actor, musician and SAK Comedy Lab alum Bill Larkin stands behind a keyboard to perform his original comedy songs tackling aging, homosexuality, self-esteem and social media.

“The Complete History of Drag in a Few Mo-mo”

By: Apt 3F (Los Angeles, CA)

Venue: The Center Orlando | Length: 90 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 7:30 p.m.; May 18, 3:45 p.m.; May 19, 3 p.m.; May 23, 8:15 p.m.; May 24, 6 p.m.; May 25, 8 p.m.; May 26, 7:15 p.m.

Auntie, an aging drag queen, sits backstage with a newbie-queen and bequeaths to her the legacy of a people.

“The Happiest Place on Earth”

By: The Impulse Project (Winter Garden, FL)

Venue: Green | Length: 85 Minutes

Showtimes: May 15, 10:15 p.m.; May 18, 11:45 a.m.; May 19, 7:45 p.m.; May 23, 5:45 p.m.; May 26, 10:15 p.m.

Left reeling from the loss of their patriarch, a family ventures on a quest for solace to a magical kingdom in a California orange grove.

“The War: An Immersive Audio Drama”

By: Phoenix Tears Productions (Orlando)

Venue: The Orlando REP | Length: 60 Minutes

Showtimes: May 17, 8 p.m.; May 18, 8 p.m.; May 19, 6 p.m.; May 22, 7 p.m.; May 24, 8 p.m.; May 25, 8 p.m.; May 26, 6 p.m.; May 27, 2 p.m.

Pop in a pair of headphones and join time traveling research company SCROLL as they attempt to discover what truly happened during The War in this immersive audio drama.

“VarieTEASE: Lilly Loses Everything”

By: Blue LaLa Entertainment (Orlando)

Venue: Black | Length: 50 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 7:30 p.m.; May 18, 9 p.m.; May 19, 9 p.m.; May 21, 7:30 p.m.; May 23, 9 p.m.; May 25, 4:30 p.m.

The uncontrollable Lilly (Blue Star) wreaks havoc on anything and everyone that stands in the way of her journey through madness.

“Viper’s Brood”

By: Misfit Arts (Winter Park, FL)

Venue: Green | Length: 75 Minutes

Showtimes: May 16, 5:45 p.m.; May 19, 10 p.m.; May 21, 9:30 p.m.; May 22, 10:45 p.m.; May 25, 10:45 p.m.

Follow the Fool, The Queen of Wands, The High Priestess and The Devil through their musical journey of the Tarot deck, and learn to see the world without your eyes.

To purchase tickets and to see a full list of shows for the 28th annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, visit OrlandoFringe.org.

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