Pittsburgh Fringe Returns with Exciting, Adventurous Line-Up

A festival of live entertainment from slightly outside the mainstream is returning to Pittsburgh’s North Side.

The Pittsburgh Fringe is back for a second year from May 8 to 10, with more than 18 events over three days, including musicals, puppetry, magic shows, improv, dance, busking, stand-up and storytelling.

The festival aims to showcase adventurous and exploratory performers, and promises to be “the most engaging, electric, and exciting arts festival in Western Pennsylvania.”

The 25 artists and performers were selected from submissions at random during an online event in January. The line-up features shows from Kentucky, Massachusetts and New York, as well as local productions.

Most of the works have not been performed locally before, and some make their world premiere at the festival.

Events are held in North Side venues including Bistro to Go on East Ohio St., Max’s Allegheny Tavern, and Randyland on Arch St.

Hedwig, in the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, showing at the Pittsburgh Fringe.

Hedwig, title character of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, showing in the Pittsburgh Fringe.

A major drawcard will be glam-rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which has been staged several times to great success since its off-Broadway debut in 1999.

The musical was written by John Cameron Mitchell with a score by Stephen Trask. The Pittsburgh Fringe production will star Kyle Hawk in the title role.

It recalls the turbulent life of Hedwig, an “internationally ignored song stylist”, and transgender woman, and the botched surgery which left her with an “angry inch”.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is performed at The New Bohemian, 887 Progress St., twice on Friday night at 6:30 and 10:15 p.m., and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. It’s not recommended or children under 12.

Pittsburgh playwright and actor Emma Wagner, now living in New York, brings her newest play No Late Seating to her home town for the festival.

It tells the story of a group of zany ushers who always ensure the show starts on time, despite kidnappings, romances and urination incidents.

The show was written and directed by Wagner, and debuted at New York’s Bad Theatre Festival in 2014.

No Late Seating is performed on Friday at 9 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 4 p.m., at the City of Asylum Tent, 318 Sampsonia Way.

Veteran fringe circuit performers Paul Strickland and Erika Kate MacDonald make their first Pittsburgh Fringe appearance with Tales Too Tall for Trailers.

The two-person show was written by Strickland and is the third and final of his Trailer Park Trilogy. Performed by Strickland and MacDonald, the story takes place in the mythical Big Fib Trailer Park, and features songs, stories and shadow puppets.

Tales Too Tall for Trailers is performed on Friday at 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Bistro to Go, 417 East Ohio St.

Throughout the festival, busking magician Al Mazing will be on North Side streets entertaining with comedy and magic tricks. He’s also performing twice at Max’s Allegheny Tavern, 537 Suismon St., on Friday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Look out for the Travelling Salespeople of Fringe as well, who will be offering the chance to take part in what’s described as a travelling game.

Tickets for all Fringe shows can be bought online, or at the Pittsburgh Fringe box office at Arnold’s Tea, 502 East Ohio St.

Pittsburgh Fringe
May 8 to 10
Held at various venues on the North Side, Pittsburgh.

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Heather McCracken

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