KC Fringe Festival

Local Playwright In KC Fringe Fest

Jul 20, 2015

Kansas City's annual Fringe Festival provides the opportunity for artists to showcase their talents. Steve Kraske talks with Midwest Dramatists Center director Victor Wishna whose short play, "The Impressionists," is featured in this year's festival.

"It comes from a place of trying to discover some characters," says Wishna, "and sort of let them speak and see where they take the story and bring me to some kind of 'ah ha' moment." 

Jeff Church / The Coterie

Linda Ade Brand has been involved with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for decades, so she knows many of singers, actors composers, directors and teachers in town. About a year ago, she had a big idea that would put the work of high school students on stage. The result is a KC Fringe Festival show, "Words+Music," that turns short plays by high school students into a night of tiny operas.

Jon Sullivan--CC

The 11th annual Kansas City Fringe Festival kicks off this weekend offering various opportunities to experience edgy entertainment involving theater, comedy, music, dance and more.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Fringe Festival brings an edgy mix of theater, music, dance and comedy to Kansas City audiences. One production, "Silver: A Noir Ballet," gives a jazzy new life to an epic Greek poem. 

Courtesy photo / Kansas City Young Audiences

With a national spotlight on issues of racism and inequality — including protests after police shootings of unarmed black men and removal of the Confederate battle flag in some public places — jazz vocalist Lisa Henry says she wants to encourage more conversation in Kansas City with a new work called "Dear White People: The Racism Monologues Set to Music."

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Heidi Van says that Kansas City needs to send original, locally created theater out into the world every bit as much as it needs a baseball team. That means experimenting on stage, taking risks, re-tooling scenes and sometimes failing. In front of an audience. Get a window into the world of experimental theater in Kansas City. 


Julie Denesha / KCUR

It can be daunting to wade through the schedule for the KC Fringe Festival.

Founded in 2004, Fringe presents about 130 events this year, including theater, dance, comedy, film, poetry, as well as visual art exhibitions.

There are artists from around the world — St. Louis, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, the U.K. — and the Kansas City area.

Here are a few homegrown highlights:

Poor Lear

Warning: This content may be unsuitable for children. It contains brief sexual references.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The KC Fringe Festival, an annual event featuring actors, dancers, poets, storytellers, filmmakers, and visual artists, turns 10 this year. The festival offers about 50 theater performances, from R-rated to puppet shows for kids. And, KC Fringe often provides an opportunity for performers to try out new material.

It seems appropriate that Jesse Ray Metcalf, the writer of a new production called (Virgin.), would say: "This is my first time doing Fringe."

Cara McClain / KCUR

For its 10th season, the KC Fringe Festival will take over spaces in Kansas City, Mo., for theater, music, comedy, spoken word, burlesque and more.

KC Fringe is an 11-day festival that provides a platform for often lesser-known performing and visual artists. 

This year's Fringe will have 19 different venues. Most are scattered around the Crossroads Arts District, but some spread out into Westport and the Country Club Plaza.

File: Julie Denesha / KCUR

In 2004, when Kansas City launched its first fringe festival as a showcase for experimental work, the event hosted 30 performances over three days.

KC Fringe is now an 11-day festival, and includes nearly 400 performances by more than 100 artists in venues from downtown Kansas City, Mo., to the Country Club Plaza.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Edgar Allen Poe's 1842 short story "The Masque of the Red Death" serves as the inspiration for a new opera called "Red Death" that premieres next week in Kansas City, Mo.

The opera will be part of the KC Fringe Festival.

With music composed by Daniel Doss and a libretto by Bryan Colley, it follows Prince Prospero (played by Nathan Granner) as he attempts to escape a plague raging outside the castle walls.

Interview highlights:

On a "zany" Prospero

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In Lucky Streak - A Musical, Bennie (Mandy Mook) flees to the women's shelter where she works in NYC after tragedy strikes in her own home. She receives comfort from close co-workers and friends, Lea (Lana Dealy) and Melanie (Victoria Barbee), who let her know that, to paraphrase Barry Manilow, she can also "make it through the rain."

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Two children experience many facets of a dream in the mystical tale of Tormenta Quixotica; on the dark and curious side of this dream, they encounter a group of contortionists.

Tormenta Quixotica, the first full-length production by Quixotic School of Performing Art's student company, is one of the more than 350 performances in this year's KC Fringe Festival, which kicks off on July 18.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Divas adorned with handmade, feathered headdresses paraded alongside comedy troupes wearing Groucho glasses on Thursday night outside the Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus. This diverse array of performers walked on a carpet - more pink than red - kicking off KC Fringe Festival's ninth year.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

This year’s KC Fringe Festival includes dance, theater, visual arts, spoken word, fashion, and film; in 11 days, there are just over 360 shows in 19 venues.

Artists often describe Fringe as an opportunity to take on new roles: to direct, to write, to produce. But sometimes, it's also a chance to have some fun.

Connecting to the Kansas City theater community

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In this scene from the play Devoured By Tigers, Ruth Harper (Nancy Marcy) prepares for a planned family meeting with Vicki (Margaret Shelby) to discuss her youngest daughter's drinking problem.

Devoured By Tigers is one of the more than 350 performances in this year's KC Fringe Festival, which kicks off on July 18, 2013.

KC's Fringe Festival Brings the Obscure Into the Spotlight

Jul 10, 2013

It's no secret that the arts community is Kansas City is vibrant and dynamic, but like any arts community it takes a lot of work to get a play or musical, visual exhibit, fashion show or performance to get in front of the general public. As Cheryl Kimmi, Founder of Kansas City Fringe Festival put it, artists have to put their work through a lot of testing before a theater or museum will consider hosting it. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

KC Fringe has been called a festival of daring – providing an opportunity for artists to take risks and to challenge themselves.

Jeff Paltz

Though the 8th annual Kansas City Fringe Festival is increasingly drawing groups from out of the area, more than half of this year's 87 performance and film offerings originated with Missouri-based artists, while about a quarter hail from Kansas.

The 8th annual KC Fringe Festival, a 10-day festival of cultural arts, kicks off this week.

With a dizzying array of theater, dance, and visual arts - and sometimes in a combination of all of those - the Kansas City Fringe Festival kicks off its seventh year this weekend.

Kansas City, Mo. – With a dizzying array of theater, dance, and visual arts - and sometimes in a combination of all of those - the Kansas City Fringe Festival kicks off its seventh year this weekend.

photo: Charles Stonewall

EXTENDED RUN: August 1 - 3, American Heartland Theatre. At performance spaces throughout the city, over 50 events make up this year's KC Fringe Festival, a celebration of the off-beat, nontraditional, and avant-garde.

When people think of stories about mortal men who create life from inanimate objects, Frankenstein and Pinocchio come immediately to mind. Less well-known is the 1870 ballet, Coppelia, about a creator of dolls who come to life.