After a successful inaugural year, the Orlando International Fringe Festival is returning with an even bigger Winter Mini-Fest Jan. 3-7, expanding on the number of venues they had in 2017.
“Instead of three venues we have four total and instead of four days we are going five. So it’s a little bit bigger than it was last year to keep up with the audience that was there, and we hope they will come out even more this year,” says Michael Marinaccio, the Orlando International Fringe Festival Producer.
This year’s winter festival will feature 25 different shows, and unlike the first mini-fest that ran only award-winning shows from the previous year, the 2018 Winter Fest is expanding on that list.
“We do have some fan favorites and some new content that has never played in Orlando before,” Marinaccio says. “The new content is from some of our favorite companies who have been some of the most successful companies at Orlando Fringe every year.”
A couple of the new shows making their Orlando Fringe debut include festival-favorite Mike Delamont, whose God is a Scottish Drag Queen spawned three sequels and the companion show Devil, with his stand-up show Husky Panda; and the team who won Best of Fest with Edgar Allen and had incredible critical-acclaim with The Unrepentant Necrophile last year, are bringing a show called The Legend of White Woman Creek.
“The Legend of White Woman Creek is one of the most gorgeous and haunting shows I’ve ever seen,” Marinaccio says. “I got to see it while I was at Winnipeg Fringe a few years back, so I’m excited about that coming to the festival.”
The Winter Mini-Fest will not be the huge spectacle you’re used to seeing every May for Orlando Fringe, but that has some perks, and it doesn’t mean you won’t get the full Fringe experience as well.
“This is a much easier festival to navigate for our new audiences,” Marinaccio says. “The shows are a lot less risky, the content is all proven commodities.”
Individual ticket prices are $15 per show, and the button price is only $3 each. It won’t carry that same big outdoor festival vibe you are used to seeing but the mini-fest will feature a food vendor and a small beer tent in the courtyard.
Below we look at a few shows we are excited to see. For a full list of The Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest schedule and to purchase a button and tickets, visit OrlandoFringe.org.
Wanzie with a Z
Presented by Wanzie Presents & D Squared Productions
The top-selling show from Orlando’s 2017 Fringe Festival, Wanzie with a Z is the real-life journey of actor/playwright Michael Wanzie from age 6 to 60.
Josh Lefkowitz stars as young Mikey Wanzie age 6 to 17; Mike Wanzie, age 17-30, is played by Joshua Roth, who gives us the coming-of-age story; and the cast is completed by Wanzie, playing himself from age 30- 60. His role helps the audience, as much as Wanzie, make sense of the first 30 years.
Make sure to get your tickets early as this one is sure to sell out fast, and this will be your last chance to see this show.
“Wanzie had said he would never do this show again, and now he is doubling down that after this he is never doing it again,” Marinaccio says. “I was able to talk him into doing it for our Winter Fringe for three shows only.”
Wanzie with a Z plays at the Orange Venue on Jan. 3,6 and 7.
Presented by Beth Marshall Presents
Another returning favorite from Orlando Fringe 2017, Beth Marshall’s presentation of Clay McLeod Chapman’s Commencement is a hauntingly deep exploration of the lives of three women drawn together in the aftermath of a high school shooting.
“At its center, Commencement is about stages of grief as experienced by all parties involved,” Watermark’s editor at the time Billy Manes wrote.
Marshall, in what Manes called her most moving role yet, plays the mother of a suicidal assassin at a school. She’s joined by Rose Helsinger (a young graduate) and Jamie Middleton (the mother of one victim killed).
Commencement plays at the Pink Venue on Jan. 3 and 6.
Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets
Presented by The PuckingFuppet Co.
Adam Francis Proulx returns with his case of Mr. Potato Head-style props in this one-man/12-puppets whodunit murder mystery.
After a rub-a-dub in a tub, the Baker is dead and his husband, the Butcher, is on trial for his murder. Is he guilty, or was it the Candlestick Maker? That’s the question before 12 puppet jurors as Proulx goes Sesame Street all over stereotypes and prejudices.
Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets plays at the Blue Venue Jan. 3, 5 and 6.
Presented by Navarro Performs
Violinist and cellist Jose Navarro takes you on a deep journey through the chakras in Alignment, a colorful adventure highlighting the meanings and challenges of each energy center.
“Life’s simplest problems may have imbalanced or blocked us at our root,” Navarro writes in a brief synopsis. “It is up to us to encounter ourselves to reach full alignment. Remember, the universe is perfect. Where there is light, there must be darkness. Try not to get lost in the rainbow.”
Alignment plays at the Black Venue Jan. 4 and 6.
VarieTEASE: Room 100 & The Ladies and Lady Boys of the Peek-a-Boo Lounge
Presented by BlueLALA Entertainment
Two sexy shows playing at The Venue that will get you hot and flustered, VarieTEASE: Room 100 and The Ladies and Lady Boys of the Peek-a-Boo Lounge bring you the best dancers in Orlando moving sensually and elegantly across the stage.
VarieTEASE: Room 100 tells the stories of the Chelsea Hotel in New York during the 1970s punk rock era, and The Ladies and Lady Boys of the Peek-a-Boo Lounge make their Fringe debut as they get down and dirty dancing out some sexual frustrations. Both shows feature mature content.
VarieTEASE: Room 100 plays Jan. 4, 6 and 7 & The Ladies and Lady Boys of the Peek-a-Boo Lounge plays Jan. 5, both at the Black Venue.