The 20th annual New York International Fringe Festival launches tonight, and somewhere in this year’s crop you might find the next “Urinetown,” the 2002 Tony Award winner that launched at the 1999 Fringe, or “Matt and Ben,” the 2002 alum co-written and co-starring a young up-and-comer named Mindy Kaling. But FringeNYC’s roster of 200 shows, spread over 16 downtown venues, can be overwhelming for even the savviest of theatergoers. Here’s what’s attracting early buzz this year due to strong sales and media attention — or just a headturning postcard.
Walken on Sunshine
Dave Droxler’s play gets points for a punny title, and a goofy-sounding showbiz storyline about a filmmaker who lies to investors about having Christopher Walken in the movie he’s making — and then goes to great lengths to make it true.
The Gorges Motel
A collection of short plays about intersecting lives at a rundown motel, this one is getting love from soap-opera fans turning out to see cast member Ilene Kristen, who had long stints on both “Ryan’s Hope” and “One Life to Live.”
Homo Sapiens Interruptus
In 2010, Carlos Dengler quit his successful gig as a founding member of hipster rock band Interpol to pursue other projects. “Homo Sapiens Interruptus” is his latest, an autobiographical solo show.
Popular on Variety
This movement-based sequel to “The Little Prince” earned raves at Edinburgh — and gets synergy points for hitting New York just as Netflix’s animated adaptation of “Little Prince” arrives on the streaming service.
The Box Show
This one’s got a killer logline: A solo sketch show in which performer Dominique Salerno conjures more than 20 comic characters — all from within the confines of a small wooden cupboard. A new character every time the cupboard door opens.
Evan Zes’ fast-selling solo comedy is resonating with New Yorkers, thanks to its autobiographical story about a struggling actor who exploits a rent-controlled apartment for an Airbnb scheme.
Bonnie’s Future Sisters
Meghan Gambling’s comedy about a bride throwing her own engagement party won the Producer’s Award at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe.
New York cabbie, comedian, activist and radio host John McDonagh tells all about life behind the wheel.
For the clown-haters in the crowd, Dan Rider’s play follows a hapless clown sent to entertain a sarcastic teenager who only laughs when he hurts himself.
Poops, I Did It Again: True Tales of An Angry Colon
Hey, a toilet title worked for “Urinetown.” Brie Henderson’s solo play is about living with ulcerative colitis.
It’s got an exclamation mark, and it’s about cheerleaders.
The 2016 edition of FringeNYC runs Aug. 12-28.