Well, the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival is in the books, and what a magnificent event it was this year. There were 375 shows and more than 2,000 performances during the 17-day run, and we had the privilege of seeing 37 of those shows during our short nine days in Los Angeles. Here are our top 10 shows.
10. The Rise and Fall of Dracula. This was our first exposure to immersive theater, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The show was wonderful created by Cassandra Ambe, perfectly executed by her cast, and was a true feast for the audience.
9. Under the Jello Mold. Jennie Fahn is the consummate performer, who brought this story to life under the expert directorship of Tom Cavanaugh. The story was so moving that my wife immediately texted her mom as soon as we left the theater.
8. The Spidey Project. Theatre Unleased outdid themselves again, and both of their productions made it into our Top 10 list. We loved the songs, the performances and the cast of this show, which brought this origin story new life. Well done!
7. Three Can Keep a Secret. The other Theatre Unleashed production, which was even more fun because of the audience interaction. Great job of playwriting Mr. Crafts. Perfectly casted and well done.
6. Hey Hollywood My Hustle Has ADHD. Rasika Mathur was amazing in this delightful show about coming to terms with a particular brand of mental illness that I am all too conscious of. We laughed and cried at her dramatic show, and the fringeship that came of it.
5. The Girl Who Jumped Off the Hollywood Sign. This show did not disappoint from the hype and buzz we heard, and we were extremely glad that we got to see it. It was historically accurate and the amazing voice of Joanne Hartstone was a joy to our ears. Thanks for coming from ‘down under’ to bring your magic to this year’s fringe.
4. Chemo Barbie. No previous fringe show has ever moved me the way this one did. Hats off to Heather Keller for her amazing courage in sharing this very fresh story with us, and for giving us the inspiration to make each day our best day. This is what Fringe is all about.
3. Shakeslesque. What else can be said about the amazing ladies (and gents) of Cherry Poppins? Alli Miller and Sarah Haworth Hodges have assembled the cream of the crop and have once again delivered a memorable and joyous good time. It was so beautiful to see them get the recognition they deserved with their two Freak awards for Best Cabaret and Top of the Fringe.
2. Turbulence. Speaking of amazing, how about those guys and girls at Robot Teammate? For the second year in a row, they have delivered a stunning original musical that has made even the local music scene stand up and take notice. Congrats on your numerous awards, including Best Musical.
1. Mexistani. Sofie Khan is amazing, both as an actress and a person. Her show demonstrated that we still have a long way to go towards acceptance of people, especially those of mixed heritage. But if nothing else, her show gave us hope that with people like Sofie leading the charge, we have a great chance of getting there.
We also wanted to give kudos to two venues that went out of their way to make Fringe special – Studio/Stage and Sacred Fools. Even though they were “off the beaten path, Studio/Stage’s amazing line-up of shows made it easy to schedule and spend a block of time at the venue. Sacred Fools made sure that patrons were well taken care of, proving free water and snow cones to help alleviate the heat. Hats off to both of you!
Last but not least, that you to the participants, to the new fringeships from this year and the renewed ones from previous years. You make Fringe the special place that it is, and the reason we drive 3,000 miles every year to be a part of it.