The 2019 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival will open on Sept. 10 and run through Sept. 21. This extends the annual arts festival to 12 days, following 2018’s extension from 10 to 11 days.
“We are thrilled to announce that 2019 will see a dozen days and nights of Fringe, which will benefit shows, venues, our production team and, above all, audiences,” said Erica Fee, festival producer.
The 2018 Fringe offered 549 performances and events in 33 spaces at 23 venues in downtown Rochester. This year’s edition broke previous ticket sales records by more than 12 percent.
Rochester’s seventh annual Fringe saw more than 120 sold-out performances and events, including “Carrie: The Musical,” “Eastman Percussion Ensemble: Steve Reich’s DRUMMING,” Eddie Izzard, “EstroFest Comedy: Celebrating 20 Years of Laughs,” “The Extraordinary Muffin Theatre Spectacular,” “Spooky Stories in the Stacks,” “This Year’s Models,” “Drive-In Dramas,” “Cirque du Fringe: SideShow,” “Disco Kids,” “Afternoon Tea,” “Shotspeare,” “Silent Disco,” all five “Bushwhacked Backyard,” “Dashboard Dramas” and the “Immersive Igloo.”
“2018 was the best Fringe for us yet,” said Adele Fico, venue manager/arts center manager at School of the Arts. “I also sensed a greater understanding on the part of the audience regarding just how special this festival is for our community.”
“We are thrilled that so many came to visit us during Fringe 2018 at The Avyarium, our new performance space in the Village Gate,” said Virginia Monte, WallByrd artistic director. “Launching our venue during a festival that celebrates artistic freedom was a perfect fit.”
“The Fringe is a great way to cultivate new audiences, as it brings many people who have never been to our venue before,” said Kevin Indovino, venue manager at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center. “We have audience members coming to MuCCC throughout the year because of their first visit during Fringe.”
Another sign of growth was a 24 percent increase in out-of-town productions at independent venues, including “Woman Before a Glass,” “Truly Divine,” “Confessions of a Prairie B!*@H,” “Banachek’s Telepathy,” “The Magic of David Anthony,” “Pinch and Squeal,” “Mo-to-the-Oncle,” “ENCORE,” “Good Catch,” “Girl in the Band,” “Two Magicians Telling the Truth,” “I Know It Was the Blood: The Totally True Adventures of a New-Fangled Black Woman” and “Jonathan Burns is (Extra) Ordinary.”
“We had a fabulous run in Rochester, and were thrilled with the turnout and response,” said Michael Marinaccio, producer of the Orlando Fringe and “Josephine,” a burlesque cabaret dream play that finished up a three-month tour of North America at SOTA after its limited, off-Broadway run.
Fringe will hold its 2019 show submission period from March 1 to April 15. These free submissions are made via directly to the venues, which book on a rolling admissions basis that favors earlier applications.
Free Fringe-curated performances and events were well attended, despite a storm on the second weekend that caused power outages, flooding, damages, closures and low attendance on Gibbs Street and at One Fringe Place. Pedestrian Drive-In, Kids Day, Fringe Street Beat, Gospel Sunday and the North American premiere of Massaoke at Parcel 5 drew large audiences.
Many of the more than 150 free offerings took place at independent venues, including The Little’s all-RIT lineup, Java’s Cafe, SUNY Geneseo’s free lineup at Lyric Theatre and “ArtAwake” at First Federal Plaza’s former Changing Scene restaurant.
“We are thrilled with the response to this year’s Fringe,” Fee said. “It was our best year yet and we look forward to captivating Rochester once again in 2019.”