D.C. is a legitimately great theatre city. Not only do Broadway bound shows get a try out here (see: Mean Girls, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away), but D.C. also sets itself apart and above other arts cities with the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival. The one area where D.C. theatre could use a little work is supporting up and coming fledgling theatre groups and productions. That isn’t necessarily an easy endeavor for start up theatre companies in a city where real estate is sky high. It’s hard to have a store front theatre when you can’t afford to rent the store.
That’s why the annual Capital Fringe Fest is such a fantastic summer tradition. From July 7-29, there are multiple shows throughout the day and night for all genres and tastes. It’s super simple: purchase a Fringe button ($5) and general admission tickets each show ($17). Bulk show passes are also available from 4 packs to 50 packs and provide an excellent discount per show. There are few better ways to beat the heat than to see new, fresh, young theatre and other performing arts all around town on the (relatively) cheap. Also the purchase of a fridge button can get you sweet discounts at bars and restaurants all over the city–perfect for performance pre-game or post show-debriefing.
While all Fringe performances are not created equal in caliber, there’s such a great variety to check out that there’s something for everyone, from the theatrical neophyte to the know-it-all. Here are a handful of show offerings we predict will be worth your eyes and ears.
A collaboratively created show that combines the Age of Enlightenment with expert clowning. Happenstance Theatre Company productions are always some of the best, and smartest, physical comedy in town.
A collection of stories about people on the brink of destruction. While we may feel a bit like that on a daily basis, there’s nothing more cathartic than seeing one’s emotions within art.
And sometimes when politics in this city feels terrifying, laughter can be the best medicine. Or at least temporarily healing. Thankfully, Hexagon, D.C.’s musical political satire review is back with a new show that takes a light-hearted yet incisive look at our utterly befuddling times.
Word Dance Theatre brings the dances of famed choreographer Isadora Duncan alongside the music of Chopin to tell modern stories through classical music and movement.
Champ of the storytelling competition The Moth, David Rodwin goes on 120 Tinder dates and in this one-man show he lives to tell the tale.
Avoidance Theatre Group tends to have a great track record with their shows and this original comedy about an ad exec’s hiring of a mysterious janitor shows promise.
Fringe always has some really great one-person shows and Jamie Brickhouse’s stage adaptation of his memoir should be one of this season’s best entries. Brickhouse’s book of the same title won raves from Entertainment Weekly and Vanity Fair and hopefully the live theatrical version will bring the same accolades.
While some opera may seem lofty and rarefied, Silver Finch Arts Collective brings four one-act operas by four composers to Fringe audiences with strong craft but also intimacy.
While D.C. regional theatre is doing the work of gender parity with playwrights, it’s great to see a Fringe production that celebrates plays by four separate female playwrights telling stories about women facing adversity.
Elan Zafir is a mainstay actor on the main stages of almost all the major professional theatres around town. He has a huge presence in performances on the stages of Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, Folger, and many more. Because of his excellent resume, his one-man show promises to be a performance with an acting pedigree. His show also had a run at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If it’s good enough for across the pond, it’s good enough for us.