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Nick's Picks: Fringe Festival can't miss events

Now in its seventh year, the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival is here again with more than 500 multidisciplinary, visual, and performing arts events. Coming off a 2017 run that saw more than 78,000 festival-goers, this year’s Fringe looks to increase popularity by adding an extra day to the fun. Spanning eleven days from September 12 through September 22, this alternative arts festival will take place in more than twenty venues throughout the downtown Rochester area. Some of the Fringe’s can’t miss events are listed by day below:

Wednesday, September 12

7:30 p.m., at the Spiegeltent – Cirque du Fringe: Sideshow

A modern take on the classic late-1800’s American circus scene, Cirque du Fringe: Sideshow brings audiences cheeky humor, impressive athletic stunts, and original music. The show is led by Matt Morgan and Heidi Brucker Morgan, who also have credits on Absinthe, an award-winning live show in Las Vegas, as well as The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth. The Morgans are joined by an immensely talented cast for an act that never lets up in energy and entertainment.

Thursday, September 13

9:00 p.m., at the Spiegelgarden – The Immersive Igloo

Spatial sound artist Tom Montagliano encourages audience members to “close their eyes, listen, and see why your mind takes you” in his intimate, all-encompassing acoustic experience. Inside a glowing, 40-foot glowing igloo, Montagliano takes small groups of audience members on a meditative journey with a soothing, ambient, electronic score that booms from eight speakers.

Friday, September 14

5:00 – 11:00 p.m., at Parcel 5 – Massaoke

Massaoke, the London-based cover band, is made up of Mark Nilsson on keyboards, Neil Winspear on the drums, Mat Morrisroe at guitar, Ethan McClean as the VJ, and you, the audience member, as lead singer. As the band plays covers of popular songs, lyrics are projected on a video screen so everyone in attendance can sing along. Parcel 5 will be filled with sounds from the Beatles, Queen, the Killers, Bon Jovi, and more in what will be one of the Fringe’s most well-attended events.

Saturday, September 15

11:00 p.m., at the Spiegeltent – Silent Disco

Not a sound will be heard at the Fringe’s biggest party. Within the Spiegeltent, a unique venue that features psychedelic colors, stained glass windows, faceted mirrors, and a velvet-draped ceiling, hundreds of bodies will move to songs ranging from ‘70s disco to ‘90s hip hop. Rather than the music coming from speakers, though, each partygoer receives a pair of LED-lit headphones with multiple channels. Some audience members will be dancing to ABBA while others, Skrillex.

Sunday, September 16

1:00 p.m., at Geva Theater – Encore

New York’s Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company brings its critically-acclaimed signature show to Geva’s main stage for a performance that is equal parts dance and theater. Expect an energetic, enthralling, one-of-a-kind production.

Monday, September 17

8:30 p.m., at the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center – Whispering Inhibitions

This play follows the life of Lara Brelle, an award-winning playwright, director, and producer. Word-class acting, writing, and set-design make the true story of Brelle’s tragedies and triumphs jump off the stage.

Tuesday, September 18

7:00 p.m., at the Eastman School of Music: Kilbourn Hall – A Brit of Magic

Keith Fields and Lady Sarah bring witty, whimsical British humor to audiences for their interactive show, A Brit of Magic. The pair employs an entertaining mix of theatrics and sleight of hand.

Wednesday, September 19

9:00 p.m., at Writers & Books – 50 Shades of Gay

Comedian Ike Avelli brings back his hit adult variety show, 50 Shades of Gay, to the Fringe after completely selling out his run of shows in 2017. Avelli is joined by recording artist Tym Moss and drag superstar Viki Villainess for a high-energy show filled with music, comedy, costumes, and audience participation.

Thursday, September 20

9:15 p.m., at the Spiegeltent – Shotspear

The concept of Shotspear and is simple enough: alcohol plus Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Drinking in the audience is encouraged and mandatory by the actors. The drunken take of Romeo and Juliet may be better than the original.

Friday, September 21

7:00 p.m., at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater – Eddie Izzard: Believe Me

Comedy legend and one of Rolling Stones “top fifty standups of all time,” Eddie Izzard, headlines this year’s Fringe. The Englishman, who has also appeared on screen in several movies like Ocean’s Twelve and Across the Universe, employs a hilarious stream-of-consciousness show that bounces between topics like religion, politics, and relationships.

Saturday, September 22

3:00 p.m., at Gibbs Street (between Main and East) – Fringe Street Beat Finals

To close out the Fringe, make sure to catch the Fringe Street Beat Finalsan adrenaline-inducing, high-stakes breakdancing competition in the middle of Gibbs Street.

For more information about the Fringe, visit

Follow Nick’s Picks on Twitter at @NicksPicks585.

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