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Bruce Vilanch, successful Broadway and Hollywood writer (and Hollywood Square), has never even seen a show at the New York International Fringe Festival before, much less performed in one. “I live in California and everybody I know in New York is away in August. They’re at the Hamptons, or they’re at their house, or they’re on Fire Island in somebody else’s other house, or they’re in the South of France dipping into their royalties.”
But every August, some 75,000 people , many without royalties, attend one the Fringe Festival. This year, the 17th annual festival, which runs from August 9th to August 25th, offers 185 shows from 13 countries in 20 downtown venues (all air-conditioned). One of the shows is “Rubble,” written by “The Simpsons” writer Mike Reiss, and starring Bruce Vilanch.
Here is a two-minute video interview with Vilanch explaining why he’s joined the Fringe multitudes.
Below are scenes are musical numbers from nine of the Fringe shows, as presented in a press preview this week at La Mama.
Gertrude Stein Saints
Based on text by Gertrude Stein, adapted by the ensemble at Carnegie Mellon University, with gospel, rap, jazz, rock, and country
From Emmy-winning “Simpsons” writer Mike Reiss: Alvin, an aging comedy writer with one last shot at a network meeting, is trapped under rubble by an LA earthquake. Starring Bruce Vilanch
Choreographed by Svea Schneider, this dance features “fierce female dancers” mimicking and manipulating mannequins, challenging perfect body aesthetics within media culture
“Emily and her gay BFF Alex can’t understand why, at 27, everyone they know is getting married!”
Old Familiar Faces
Written and directed by Nat Cassidy, “Old Familiar Faces” is a play about murder, obsession, love and the story of two lives saved by the works of William Shakespeare.
(Note: The first 40 seconds or so are deliberately in the dark)
Written by Christine DeNoon & Lorie Steele, this musical acts you to “take a stroll down Madison Avenue in 1963, where the copywriters at D&J are juggling deadlines, drinks, and desires. ”
A play written by Mara Wilson:
“It’s summer and Nick just wants to score pot, hang with his would-be girlfriend, and have his Satanist brother talk his best friend out of enlisting.”
The Rufus Equation
Written by Ted Cubbin, who sums it up: “Nerd + Math = Sex”
A play by Temar Underwood about “one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.”