Newsletters

Get Where+When delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.

What to See at the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival
From Shakespeare to Steve Jobs, which shows to make a beeline for this year. By Sophie Gilbert
Don’t miss 1814! The War of 1812 Rock Opera at the Capital Fringe Festival. Photograph courtesy of the festival’s website.
Comments () | Published July 8, 2013

Looking to navigate the undeniably rich but ever-puzzling terrain of the Capital Fringe Festival this year? In preparation for the festival, which runs July 11 through 28, we’ve broken down which of the 130 shows on offer to bookmark, categorized by musicals, comedy, drama, and physical theater/dance, and ranked—as usual—by general quirkiness.


Musicals

The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: The Musical
When: July 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, and 28
Who: Timothy Guillot (after Mike Daisey).
Why: Remember that fairly newsworthy Daisey show about Apple and China? Timothy Guillot has made it into a musical, and that’s all we need to say.
Quirk Factor: 5/5

Cabaret XXXY: Who Do You Think You Are?
When: July 12, 16, 20, 24, 25, 26, and 28
Who: Pinky Swear Productions, Stephen Spotswood.
Why: Pinky Swear won the Best Fringe Musical award in 2011 for Les Femmes Fatales, and return for a third year with this ode to rock anthems and unabashed female sexuality.
Quirk Factor: 2/5

Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk
When: July 13, 17, 21, 25, and 27
Who: Vaughn Irving, Doug Wilder, and Paul Foreman.
Why: This disco-themed musical about the son of God and his bartender mother stars the amazing Felicia Curry and nine other singers. Plus you get to say “Disco Jesus.”
Quirk Factor: 2/5

1814! The War of 1812 Rock Opera
When: July 11, 14, 18, 20, 23, and 26
Who: Written and composed by David Dudley and Dave Israel.
Why: Because between Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Hoover Comes Alive, historical rock operas are a thing now? Also because this is apparently the summer of Washington being destroyed by haters, and this musical depicting the Battle of Baltimore has shockingly good timing.
Quirk Factor: 1/5


Comedy

A Guide to Dancing Naked
When: July 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, and 27
Who: Brynn Tucker, local actress and apparent naked dancer extraordinaire.
Why: There isn’t actually nudity, but don’t let that stop you. Tucker is funny, charming, and, most important, a great dancer, and in this confessional show she aims to help everyone embrace their own graceful selves.
Quirk Factor: 3/5

The Encyclopedia Show DC
When: July 13, 14, 20, and 27
Who: The Encyclopedia Show DC.
Why: The variety show comes to Fringe with its blend of vaudeville, music, and smart comedy.
Quirk Factor: 4/5

Fish Outta Water
When: July 12, 14, 19, 20, 21, and 26
Who: Ron Litman.
Why: Litman was a hit last year at Fringe with DC Trash, his one-man show about his experiences as a garbage man. In Fish Outta Water he details exactly how he got to his unusual profession via the American heartland.
Quirk Factor: 3/5

Funny Stories 2
When: July 11, 13, 16, 18, and 20
Who: James Judd.
Why: Judd, a writer, performer, NPR contributor and former Groundlings member, tells funny stories about his life, some of which may include sharks, camels, and canoeing.
Quirk Factor: 1/5

Haute Mess
When: July 14, 18, 20, 21, 23, and 27
Who: Landless Theatre Company.
Why: Ian Allen, former artistic director of DC’s infamous, now-defunct Cherry Red Productions, directs this punk/drag/comedy show excoriating the fashion industry.
Quirk Factor: 4/5

H Street Housewives
When: July 14, 20, 25, and 26.
Who: Jenny Splitter.
Why: Because we miss The Real Housewives of Washington DC, and because “H is for hipster” Street is an easy target.
Quirk Factor: 3/5

Impossible to Translate But I’ll Try
When: July 13, 16, 17, 21, and 28
Who: Noa Baum.
Why: Storyteller, performer, and peace advocate Baum recalls her experiences growing up in Israel.
Quirk Factor: 1/5

I Tried to Be Normal Once, It Didn’t Take
When: July 13, 14, 18, 21, 26, and 27
Who: Stephanie Svec.
Why: No Rules Theatre Company’s Joshua Morgan directs this one-woman show fusing music, storytelling, and standup.
Quirk Factor: 2/5

Lore
When: July 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27
Who: Washington Improv Theater.
Why: Breaking out of the “only two stories exist, and one of them is Cinderella” mold, WIT seeks to find entirely new plots and tales with the audience’s help.
Quirk Factor: 2/5

Married Sex
When: July 12, 14, 21, 25, 26, and 27
Who: Laura Zam.
Why: Any Fringe festival is always laden with sex-themed stories, but this solo show directed by Shirley Serotsky features Zam playing 30 different people recounting the intricacies of their married sex lives.
Quirk Factor: 2/5

No Sex Please
When: July 12, 13, 18, 26, and 28
Who: Derek Hills.
Why: Hills was a virgin until he was 27. Don’t you want to find out why?
Quirk Factor: 1/5

Sanka, Ya Dead Mon?
When: July 11, 14, 16, 20, and 27
Who: Wild Rumpus Productions.
Why: Love Cool Runnings? Yup, us too. Manu H. Kumasi stars as Ben, a young man who uses the movie’s teachings to make sense of his complex life.
Quirk Factor: 4/5

Social Media Expert 
When: July 11, 14, 21, 25, and 27
Who: John Krizel.
Why: Timeliness. Krizel wrote and directs this play about the social media manager for a fast food chain struggling with a horse meat scandal.
Quirk Factor: 3/5

Tragedy Averted
When: July 14, 19, 20, 24, and 28
Who: Ad Hoc Players.
Why: Washington Post comedy columnist Alexandra Petri wrote this show imagining what might have happened to the tragic heroines of Shakespeare had they not shuffled off this mortal coil.
Quirk Factor: 3/5


Drama

A Killing Game
When: July 11 through 28
Who: Dog & Pony DC.
Why: If you haven’t heard of this show yet, you haven’t been paying attention. A hybrid of theater, clue, and that game you play at sleepovers where someone’s a murderer, A Killing Game is built around audience interaction as a deadly disease spreads throughout the theater.
Quirk Factor: 4/5.

In Search of the Perfect G String
When: July 13, 19, 21, 26, and 28
Who: Yvonne Caruthers.
Why: National Symphony Orchestra cellist Caruthers conceived and performs in this one-woman show about how she became a classical musician.
Quirk Factor: 1/5

Mme. Macbeth
When: July 11, 14, 17, 21, and 28
Who: King’s Players.
Why: In this gender-bending production of Shakespeare’s unluckiest tragedy, the kings and noblemen are women, and the witches and wives are men.
Quirk Factor: 4/5

Murder on the Bare Stage
When: July 12, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, and 27
Who: Stephen Mead, Magnus Magnus.
Why: Mead, a graduate of RADA (Britain’s most prestigious acting school) recites interpretations of spooky tales by Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens.
Quirk Factor: 3/5

Recovery
When: July 11, 13, 14, 16, and 18
Who: Mark Jason Williams.
Why: Williams’s drama about two leukemia patients who forge a connection is inspired by his own experiences as a childhood survivor of the disease, and comes to the Capital Fringe Festival following runs in New York and Minneapolis.
Quirk Factor: 1/5

RFK
When: July 13, 18, 20, 21, 24, and 25
Who: New City Stage Company.
Why: This solo show looks at the last four years of Bobby Kennedy’s life and stars Russ Widdall as the ill-fated politician and Kennedy scion.
Quirk Factor: 2/5

Romeo and Juliet
When: July 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, and 24
Who: We Happy Few Productions.
Why: The local company returns with another slimmed-down version of a Shakespeare classic. Eight actors perform the play in just 90 minutes.
Quirk Factor: 1/5

Tea in the Slammer: A True Story
When: July 13, 14, 19, 20, and 25
Who: Geraldine Buckley.
Why: Everyone loves a good cross-cultural narrative, and Buckley, a Brit, recalls her experiences working as a chaplain at a men’s prison in Maryland.
Quirk Factor: 2/5

The Politician
When: July 12, 14, 20, 24, and 28
Who: John Feffer.
Why: Think-tanker Feffer returns to Fringe with a new work adapted from last year’s sellout show The Pundit.
Quirk Factor: 1/5


Dance/Physical Theater

A Commedia Romeo and Juliet
When: July 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, and 28
Who: Faction of Fools.
Why: No one does the classics commedia-style better than Faction of Fools.
Quirk Factor: 1/5.

Bowen McCauley Dance: From the Ground Up
When: July 27 and 28
Who: Choreographer Lucy Bowen McCauley and Shakespeare Theatre associate artistic director Alan Paul.
Why: Two considerable talents team up to explore how movement responds to its surroundings in the original works “Afoot in Vienna” and “Fire and Air.”
Quirk Factor: 1/5.

Double Freakquency
When: July 11, 14, 19, 24, and 27
Who: Adam Stackhouse and Liz Sykes.
Why: We don’t fully understand how it works, but there’s apparently one room and two sets of headphones to choose from, meaning you select the soundtrack and have a unique individual theatrical experience.
Quirk Factor: 4/5

Kubrilesque
When: July 11, 12, 13, 20, 25, and 27
Who: Cherry Kiss Productions.
Why: Because even if you’re as bemused by burlesque as this writer is, the combination of scantily clad ladies and Stanley Kubrick sounds enticingly bonkers.
Quirk Factor: 5/5

To Know a Veil
When: July 11, 14, 17
Who: Emma Crane Jaster.
Why: Jaster, a performer and choreographer explores the significance and meaning of the veil in this movement-based piece.
Quirk Factor: 3/5

Categories:

Festivals Theater
Subscribe to Washingtonian

Discuss this story

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. The Washingtonian reserves the right to remove or edit content once posted.
  • Jenny Town

    Ohhh, you guys are def missing out without The D.C. State Players Present Agamemnon. Have you seen their videos?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • Katie Zitz

    Red Knight Productions' Smellin' Up the Den should be added to the Comedy List. This show debuted at Amy Poehler's Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre in NYC.

  • Noa Baum

    Thank you - this is my very first Fringe and I'm so very grateful for including my very not quirky show "Impossible to translate but I'll try" here.

  • Mark Jason Williams

    Thank you listing Recovery. We're so excited to be participating in this year's Capital Fringe!

  • Jenny Splitter

    Thanks for the recommendation!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Posted at 04:30 PM/ET, 07/08/2013 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs