Wednesday, July 27, 2022

2022 Minnesota Fringe Festival Must-See List

Friends, it's been three long years since the last Minnesota Fringe Festival as we know it. They hosted an entirely virtual festival in 2020, and a hybrid festival in 2021 that included about a dozen in person shows. But now it's 2022, the pandemic is totally over (sarcasm), and Fringe is back (August 4-14)! After all that time I'm not sure I remember how to do this anymore, and it's been a particularly busy summer on multiple fronts so I haven't had much time to peruse the website or make my schedule yet. I'm also going to be out of town for part of the festival, so I'll probably only make it to 20-some shows (far from my high of 54 in 2016, but that's exhausting and I'm not getting any younger). But I'm already getting excited about immersing myself in the wonderful artful adventure known as the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Read on for a few of my must-sees, some logistical info from the Fringe website, and my annual tips for newbies.

I'm definitely going to see these shows this year:

Here's some info from the Fringe online box office:

  • The 2022 Minnesota Fringe is a 100% vaccinated Festival. 
  • At this time, masks are strongly recommended for participants. (I'll be wearing one.)
  • How to Fringe: You will need a Fringe Button, a seat token, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the theater. 
  • Minnesota Fringe Box Offices are located near the entrance of all 11 venues in the Festival. The 2022 pin-back Fringe Button can be purchased at any box office for $5, and everyone needs one to Fringe. Instead of paper tickets, we use reusable tokens at each venue. You will receive your seat token at the box office when you buy or redeem your ticket, then turn it in to the usher when you enter the theater. Our box offices are cashless, so please either bring a credit card/check to purchase, or present your Multi-Show Pass, VIP Pass, Show Comp, or Voucher to redeem. 
  • Tickets for specific shows may be purchased online until midnight the day before a performance, or at the venue of that performance starting approximately 30 minutes prior to the show start time. Online sales will include a $2 processing fee per order. Online presales stop at 11:59pm the day before a show.
  • Fringe shows start on time, and for the safety of all concerned, we cannot accommodate late seating or readmission.

My annual Fringe tips for newbies, although after three years I feel like a newbie too (as always, refer to the Fringe website for the most up-to-date and correct information):

  • If a show is particularly popular, or you really really want to see it, consider reserving a seat in advance ($3). You can also take your chances and just show up. I typically only make reservations for a handful of shows that look like they might be busy (you can check the show's page to see if it's in danger of selling out).
  • All shows are general admission, so get there early for best choice of seating. NO LATE SEATING!
  • Shows typically run just under an hour, with a half hour between shows so it's feasible to get from any theater to any other in that time. But it's good to plan to see a bunch in one location (Cedar-Riverside is the biggest hub of venues with seven, and Uptown has four) to minimize transportation time.
  • Bring snacks, water, reading material, and sunscreen - you will be waiting in line, probably outside. And be aware of what line you're in (box office or theater entrance). Ask one of the friendly volunteers in the Fringe shirts if you need help with anything.
  • Keep an open mind - some of what you'll see is really weird. But that can be a good thing! And if you see a dud, well, that's part of the Fringe experience.
  • Be adventurous! See something you normally wouldn't - that's the point of Fringe. If you don't like it - it'll be over in an hour.
  • The Fringe website has pretty much all the info you'll need, so bookmark it on your smart phone for easy on-the-go reference!
  • If you missed the preview shows (there's one more on August 3), check out the videos posted on YouTube.
Most importantly - be adventurous, be safe, have fun, and support the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the many many artists we're lucky enough to have in the #TCTheater community!!