What to See at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival

We trawled through the 130-plus shows in the lineup and picked out a few favorites.
An image from 3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella. Courtesy of the Capital Fringe Festival.
An image from 3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella. Courtesy of the Capital Fringe Festival.

In many ways (well, in one way, at least), the Capital
Fringe Festival is a bit like a giant Rorschach test: Whichever shows
you choose to see out of the 130-plus on offer probably say
more about you than about the festival. So far be it from us to
try to influence you. Instead, allow us to present some of the
shows we think are the most compelling, and then feel free
to psychoanalyze the hell out of why we chose them.

3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella

July 14, 17, 21, 25, and 28 at Studio Theatre

Why See It: Because it’s an ode to romance done commedia dell’arte style.

Who’s In It: Faction of Fools, DC’s own commedia company, recently honored as Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at this
year’s Helen Hayes Awards.

Oddness Rating: 2/5

A Night In (Or the Night My Wife Left)

July 12, 17, 21, 15, and 28 at the Goethe-Institut Gallery

Why See It: Because it’s a puppet show about a man whose departing wife accuses him of having multiple personalities, which
prompts said man to get high and hang out with said personalities (in puppet form).

Who’s In It: It’s the brainchild of local writer and performer
Dannie Snyder, who’s performed with the GMU
Players, Theater for the First Amendment, and more. Read about her

Oddness Rating: 4/5

Arlen and Berlin Occupy the Fringe

July 14, 15, 21, 22, and 24 at Source

Why See It: Because everyone loves cabaret, and this review of songs by
Harold Arlen and
Irving Berlin was described as “poignant, patriotic, and oddly compelling” by the
Washington Times
when it ran at the Atlas Arts center late last year.

Who’s In It: It’s directed by the fantastic
Abel Lopez and
Angelisa Gillyard, and features
Stanley Thurston at the piano and
Lew Freeman and
Pam Ward on vocals.

Oddness Rating: 0/5


July 12 through 22 at Woolly Mammoth Rehearsal Hall

Why See It:
Beertown, an interactive performance piece, makes the
audience part of the, well, audience. Set in a fictional small town in
the Midwest,
the show takes the form of a meeting in which the actors and
various audience members converse with the mayor about various
items from Beertown’s past. And there’s dessert (you’re
encouraged to contribute, potluck-style).

Who’s In It: The show is the work of widely praised local devised theater company Dog & Pony DC.

Oddness Rating: 3/5


July 12 through 29 departing from Fort Fringe Box Office

Why See It: Because it stars
Brian Feldman and you. That’s it. During the two-hour “friend building” experience with Feldman, he’ll do pretty much anything you want
(as long as it’s family-friendly, we’re guessing).

Who’s In It: Brian Feldman, and you’ll get to know him pretty well.

Oddness Rating: 5/5

Blanche: The Bittersweet Life of a Wild Prairie Dame

July 20, 22, 24, 25, and 26 at Warehouse

Why See It: Because it was described as “delicate,
penetrating, [and] captivating” by the Huffington

when it ran at the New York Musical Theatre Festival last year.

Who’s In It: The show is performer
Onalea Gilbertson’s musical tribute to her grandmother, Blanche, and her experiences living through the Great Depression, World War II, and

Oddness Rating: 2/5

The Brontes

July 12, 14, 17, 21, 22, and 29 at Fort Fringe—Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar

Why See It: Because you read
Jane Eyre in high school and never got over it. And because the promised fusion of repressed Victorian writers and rock-and-roll is
too good to resist.

Who’s In It: The show comes courtesy of Dizzy Miss
Lizzie’s Roadside Revue, Washington’s very own
fusion company.

Oddness Rating: 4/5

DC Trash

July 12, 14, 22, and 28 at Fort Fringe—Bedroom

Why See It: Because it’s one performer’s recollections of working as a trash collector in DC. And because it mentions
Michaele Salahi, if you must know.

Who’s In It:
Ron Litman, a 62-year-old stage and screen actor who was forced to find new work when the parts dried up.

Oddness Rating: 2/5

Domino’s Pizza Saved My Life 

July 12, 15, 18, 21, and 22 at Goethe-Institut’s Main Stage

Why See It: Because it isn’t really about pizza. And it had a sold-out run at the Minnesota Fringe in 2011.

Who’s In It:
Dylan Fresco, and he uses the show to tell stories and sing songs about everything from the 2008 Republican National Committee convention
to his experiences at an American-Soviet summer camp.

Oddness Rating: 3/5


July 13 through 28 at Flashpoint’s Mead Theatre Lab

Why See It: Because it’s
Hamlet, only darker. And
Hamlet is pretty dark anyway. And it’s 90 minutes instead of four hours.

Who’s In It:
Chris Genebach, who recently appeared at Studio Theatre in
The Big Meal and at Woolly Mammoth in
Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play. The show was created by We Happy Few Productions, a new local theater company that aims to present pared-down productions
of classics.

Oddness Rating: 1/5

Mein Kampf

Playing July 12 through 20 at H Street Playhouse.

Why See It: Because it’s a surrealist black comedy about Hitler, which sounds delightfully inappropriate. And it’s by
George Tabori.

Who’s In It: Scena Theatre, a solid local company now in its 25th season. The tagline for the show is “This is the play that
Scena would only dare stage in Washington,” which we’re not sure we understand, but never mind.

Oddness Rating: 2/5

President Harding Is a Rock Star

July 13, 15, 17, 21, 26, and 28 at Fort Fringe—Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar

Why See It: Because this whole “Presidents as rock stars” thing seems to be getting some traction at the moment, between this
show and
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Studio Theatre. And because this show was described as “a POTUS-themed lampoon with a refreshingly retrospective bent”
by the
Post when in debuted in 2008.

Who’s In It: The show comes from Landless Theatre Company and is written by Obie winner
Kyle Jarrow (A Very Merry Unauthorized Scientology Pageant).

Oddness Rating: 2/5

The Pundit

July 13, 15, 20, 28, and 29 at Goethe-Institut’s Main Stage

Why See It: Because this is Washington—do you need another reason?

Who’s In It: The show is written by
John Feffer, an actual pundit at the Institute for Policy Studies, and it stars a host of local performers including Feffer,
Peter Orvetti, and
Matthew Ancarrow.

Oddness Rating: 3/5

Superhero Celebrity Rehab: The Musical 

July 13, 14, 19, and 22 at Gala Hispanic Theatre

Why See It: Because you’re disillusioned with Dr. Drew now that you know he’s a shill for Big Pharma. And because the
Hancock-like plot featuring superheroes with addiction issues sounds fun.

Who’s In It:
Bill Coyne stars, along with No Rules Theatre Company’s
Joshua Morgan. The show is written by Washington residents
William Segal and
Brendan Snow and directed by No Rules’
Brian Sutow.

Oddness Rating: 3/5

Young Republicans 

July 12, 20, 21, 22, and 24 at Goethe-Institut’s Main Stage

Why See It: Because it’s an election year, and because it’s probably a depressingly accurate parody.

Who’s In It: The show is written by
Alexandra Petri, the
Washington Post’s 24-year-old humor columnist. Her father is Wisconsin congressman
Tom Petri (yes, a Republican), so it’s fair to say she’s got firsthand experience.

Oddness Rating: 1/5

Now we want to know which shows you’re planning on seeing at this year’s Fringe. Browse through the 130-plus productions at
capitalfringe.org and let us know in the comments.


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