Fringe Fest keeps growing

Flea hops on festival hits as producers talk transfer

The ninth annual New York Intl. Fringe Festival wrapped over the weekend with an attendance surge of 10,000 and a handful of productions ripe for commercial development.

Fest organizers, though still at work tabulating at-the-door purchases, estimated sales jumped to 70,000 tickets from last year’s 60,000 for the two-week, 200-show extravaganza.

“The Lightning Field” and “Half Life” will extend at the Flea, with each show adding about 10 perfs in September. And “Bridezilla Strikes Back,” “The Miss Education of Jenna Bush,” “Fleet Week: The Musical,” “Beautiful,” “Silence! The Musical,” and “Go-Go Kitty, GO!” all have producers circling.

Bumping the life expectancy of most of those shows were the fest’s Overall Excellence Awards, handed out by an independent panel of 60 industryites.

“Silence of the Lambs” spoof “Silence!” and same-sex sailor comedy “Fleet Week” shared the prize for musical, while gay drama “Lightning Field,” campy laffer “Go-Go Kitty” and Bulgakov-inspired “God’s Waiting Room” took laurels for play.

One-woman comedy “Miss Education of Jenna Bush” and “Bridezilla,” starring reality TV survivor Cynthia Silver, were among the four shows singled out for solo show, and “Half Life,” about a man convicted of molesting a little girl, was one of the four playwriting honorees.

Winners can take heart: Of the current or upcoming transfers of shows from previous Fringes, all four — “Sides: The Fear Is Real,” “Dog Sees God,” “Slut” and “Gork!” — won at least one award the year they appeared in the Fringe.

In the fest’s wake, “Jenna” aims to capitalize on the celeb cachet of its title, a la previous Fringe transfer “Matt & Ben,” and will shoot for a fall remount in Gotham. “Silence!” may take a little longer, with talk of a staging next spring after a continuing development process.

Winners:

Outstanding Play:
“The Lightning Field”
“God’s Waiting Room”
“Go-Go Kitty, GO!”

Outstanding Musical:
“Silence! The Musical”
“Fleet Week: The Musical”

Outstanding Playwrighting:
Katherine Knowles – “Magician”
Robin Maguire – “Aquarium”
Martin Casella – “The Irish Curse”
Robert Moulthrop – “Half Life”

Outstanding Multimedia:
Movie Geek

Outstanding Music & Lyrics:
Paul Foglino – “Hercules in High Suburbia”
Dante Russo (Lyrics)/David F.M. Vaughn (Music) – “Extraordinary”

Outstanding Solo Show:
“The Miss Education of Jenna Bush “
“Bridezilla Strikes Back”

“Jesus in Montana”
“Surviving David”

Outstanding Direction:
Scott Ebersold
– “The Silent Concerto”

Outstanding Costume Design:
Kerith Wolf
– “Marlowe”

Outstanding Sound Design:
Mark Huang
– “Go-Go Kitty, GO!”

Outstanding Set Design:
Nicholas Vaughan – “The Silent Concerto”

Outstanding Actor:
Jennifer Gibbs
– “Edna St. Vincent Millay Speaks to the Committee on Immorality”
James Murray Jackson, Jr. – “Unspeakable: Richard Pryor Live & Uncensored

Rick Bland– “Thick”
Doug Kreeger – “Swimming Upstream”

Outstanding Ensemble:
“Amerika”
“Fluffy Bunnies in a Field of Daisies”
“Weddings of Mass Destruction”
“Hit”

Outstanding Fight Direction:
Michael G. Chin – “The Lizards”

Outstanding Choreography:
Regina Nejman – “The Velocity of Things”
Nina Hein – “Icarus”

Awards are selected by an independent panel of 60 industry professionals. There are no set categories or number of awards selected each year. Awards were presented by Festival Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy at the FringeNYC closing ceremony held August 28th at FringeCentral.

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