Saturday, July 3, 2010

Will the Chicago Fringe Festival be a Bust or a Babe?

Q: Have you performed in Chicago before? I am doing the fringe there...a bit nervous...especially as it is $10 "suggested donation" for tickets....and first year...any thoughts on the matter?

A: Well, you know how Mr. Fringey feels about fringes that are younger than three years old. They're usually a bust in terms of recouping your investment. 

Unless there's a better reason to go than financial gain, you should usually look at a first year fringe as a total write off.  This is true for a few different reasons. 

First, fringe fans are a different breed than your typical run-of-the mill theatre goer. A fringe fan is used to seeing multiple shows in one night and multiple shows during the course of a festival. A typical theatre fan goes to see one show per month and then goes home until the next month. It takes a year or two (at the very least) to educate audience members on fringe etiquette.

However, there have been recent fringes that have broken rank with Mr. Fringey's First Year Fringe theory. The Capital Fringe was the first fringe to come along and do this and although all the data isn't in yet, the 1st Annual Hollywood Fringe may do the same. 

Why? Both of these fringes gathered a lot of creative support from the artistic community and leveraged that into media exposure. The HF already has the support of LA Weekly and Backstage Magazine in an effort to review most of the shows. (Not bad for a FYF or first year fringe)

I would place my bets that Chicago has much of the same thing going for it that both Hollywood and Washington DC have. A large city, a passionate creative community and a theatre tribe that is aching to make their fringe a success. I'd place my bets that with your fringe savvy you'll do just fine. If you doubt it, read what the Chicago Fringe peeps wrote to me early on when they were sending out applications: Chicago Fringe Kicks Fringe Butt.



Anonymous said...

Dude, the Chi-town organizers are so whack. They don't know what the hell they are doing. I was a part of their flaky group and then quit. It was like being in High School all over again.

Sarah Mikayla Brown said...

We are always open to hearing opinions, of all stripes. Please feel free to write me at

Henri Dugas IV said...

Let us dissect:

"Anonymous said..."
Choice to remain anonymous indicates that this person may want something from those whom he bashes, thus, to remain unknown allows for freedom of speech without consequence

"Dude, the Chi-town organizers are so whack."
Language does not suggest an educated background or choice to appear uneducated.

“They don't know what the hell they are doing.”
Please tell me an organization that, on the first large scale event, has every single duck in a row, and I will apply to that company forth with.

“I was a part of their flaky group and then quit.”
Thus contributing to the flake?

“It was like being in High School all over again.”
And remaining anonymous isn’t? So, flaking and not knowing what you are doing, yeah, I can see how that would be like high school. Because both happen in formulative years.

Sounds to me like a bitter “I didn’t get heard” trying to bring down something that has the potential to be amazing. I fear for his/her future children.

I applaud Chi-town fringe for allowing this person to take his/her negative energy away.
Best of luck in August CFF!!!

Oh, and I have no affiliation with CFF other than eagerness to see it come to fruition and I know a few people performing.

TRACY WRAY said...

Dearest Henry (and anyone else who is as eager as this lovely gentleman to see this first annual CFF in September),

If you are free anytime between Sept 1-5th and would like to Volunteer with us during the festival, please email:

We'd love to have you! Plus, you get cool incentives like a Tee-Shirt, comps to the show for every shift worked, and a great resume builder (-: