Doug Strassler's Guide to the Fringe Festival

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[caption id="attachment_54604" align="alignright" width="144" caption="Ashlie Atkinson"]([/caption] While many plan vacations in mid-August, New York theater lovers know to stay put for the annual New York International Fringe Festival, a two week-long compilation of live shows spanning a diverse array of subjects, genres, and formats. Check out these official New York Press picks: All My Children: Nope, Susan Lucci isn't looking for work in downtown NYC. This show, written and performed by Matt Smith, is a unique look at alternate history. Max Poth takes tracks down the now-grown children of long-ago girlfriends and tells them he's their real father (knowing that he's not) in this comically revisionist riff on just what it means to be a modern American family. []( Finding Elizabeth Taylor: Solo performer Elizabeth Claire Taylor has mounted a show for her namesake, the late Oscar winner. This play is love letter to the star and also a confessional a work about trying to achieve perfection while remaining true to oneself. This play won the 2011 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Award for Outstanding Solo Show. []( Mother Eve's Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood: This show ? a grad of the 2011 Midtown International Theater Festival ? tells the story of a sassy self-help guru who strives to transform the lives of six women, whom she calls the "Divine Petals." Encouraging them to celebrate and release their inner flower power, she helps each of the women transform, but a deep dark secret plagues the Garden that could destroy the Sisterhood forever. Uma Incrocci, Erica Jensen, and Kirk McGee wrote the book, while Incrocci wrote lyrics and Christian Pedersen composed the music. ([]( The Particulars: Off-Off superstar Jordana Williams returns to the Fringe after directing the terrific Viral with this show, the third consecutive year at the festival for the Bridge Theatre Company, whose show Greenland took the honor last year for Overall Excellence in Writing. Bridge founder Ashlie Atkinson, star of such shows as Fat Pig and series as" Rescue Me," plays Lillian, a youth minister struggling to reconcile her faith with recent experiences in the Congo. Tail! Spin!: With a cast including Rachel Dratch, Sean Dugan and Mo Rocca, this look at the political sex scandals committed by Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Mark Sanford and Anthony Wiener is guaranteed to be a hit. And it's truly a case of life imitating art, as the entire script comes from the word spoken, emailed, tweeted and otherwise written by the politicians themselves. []( The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children: This autobiographical show, written and performed by Matthew Trumbull, moves back and forth between humor and tragedy, and charts all the places in between in its look at the relationship between father and son when put to the test. Trumbull plays himself and his father, diagnosed with cancer at the age of 55. []( Be sure to enjoy whatever shows you see! More information about the Fringe Festival can be found at [](

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