Your Complete Gay Guide to the Philadelphia FringeArts Festival

A one-stop shop of all the LGBT offerings at the 17th annual FringeArts festival.

From top, L-R: Brian Sanders' JUNK's "Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak"; Geoffrey Decas O'Donnell, Jordan Seavey and Boo Killebrew in "The Momentum"; local actor Nate Golden; Jess Conda in "Eternal Glamnation"; and Sam Swift Shuker-Haines in "XY Scheherazade."

To help you get the most gay for your buck at the 17th annual FringeArts (Sept. 5-22), we’ve combed through the list of shows to find all the LGBT offerings at this year’s festival. And boy is there a ton — from a comedy about a woman who wishes she was a drag queen and a live taping of a gay web series to a riveting piece that explores trans/gender identity in an apocalyptic fantasy world.

So you don’t miss a beat, we’ve rounded everything up into one succinct, gay guide. Here’s how it works: Everything is broken into categories (theater, dance, etc … ) and each show is listed in order of its opening. All dates are included in the descriptions — which come straight from the Fringe catalog — but you can click on each shows’ title to access more info about ticket prices, dates, etc …

So without further ado … your Big Gay Guide to the Philadelphia Fringe Festival: 

THEATER

Dito Van Reigersberg in "Pay Up." Photo courtesy of Jacques Jean Tiziou.

Pay Up by Pig Iron Theatre Company with The University of the Arts
“Step into a labyrinthine, choose-your-own adventure about buying and selling everything under the sun. Philadelphia’s premier physical theater company re-imagines its 2005 show, post financial crisis style. Part circus, part laboratory experiment, part shopping experience, Pay Up is a pay-as-you-go race against the clock to pick what plays you want to see.” Sept. 4-22, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.

Completeness by Round Table Theatre Co.
“Elliot creates a computer algorithm to help Molly with her molecular biology research, and the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. Don’t miss the Philadelphia premiere of this incredibly seductive and ridiculously smart new comedy by Itamar Moses.” Sept. 5-9, 12-14, Caplan Studio Theater, The University of the Arts, 211 S. Broad St.

The Momentum by CollaborationTown
“CTown is going to change your life when we fulfill our vibrational destinies together with The Momentum, a self-help-sploitation that asks: Unhappy? Listless? Broke? Alone? Depressed? Shoeless? Let its Laws of Attraction massage your vibrations and pull you into the Gaping Hole of Momentum.” Sept. 5, 7, and 12-14, First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut St.

Paperback Dreadful by Shannon House
“Inspired by R.L. Stein’s epic ‘Goosebumps’ series, Shannon House has created a new work with lo-fi scares and hi-fi nostalgia. This haunting and hilarious horror parody will stir your mad scientist laugh, tingle your vampire spine, and break your werewolf heart.” Sept. 5, 7, 12-14, Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. Second St.

Will Davis and MJ Kaufman in "Gayze." Photo courtesy of Courtney Sale.

Gayze: A Real Live Webseries by MJ/JT
“What happens when boys become bois and girls become grrls? What happens when hipsters become lizards? What happens when real queerz show up in a straight-laced gay webseries? Fast-forward, re-wind or skip to the next episode, Gayze is a real live web series that happens live in front of you.” Sept. 6-8, Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar, 200 S. 12th St.

The Safe Word is Begonia/He Deserves It by B. Someday Productions
“Dolly finds an Eric Stanton comic in her fiancée Howard’s valise. Confused and curious about his preferences she visits the library to find out what the pictures represent. Patsy the librarian has an interest in the topic and takes Dolly on a surprising expedition into the murky world of 1950s S&M.” B Someday’s Michele Pauls says this will “appeal to the LGBT community because the lines of traditional relationships are blurred. Plus, there are hot guys getting spanked and sexy girls dressing up for each other.” Sept. 6-21, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave.

This Is Not For You by Elbow Room Performance
“I want to be alone. I can’t be alone. I’m afraid of being alone. Leave me alone. In a Platonic dialogue interrupted by movement, music, and memory, award-winning Swiss opera director Julie Beauvais and American director/performer Jon Foley Sherman explore the limits and possibilities of solitude.” Sept. 6-7, Pig Iron Studio One at Crane Old School, 1117 N. Second St.

Bob Stineman and Doug Greene in "Traveling Light." Photo courtesy of Kyle Cassidy.

Traveling Light by Lindsay Harris Friel
“Playwright Joe Orton confronts Beatles manager Brian Epstein late at night in a Jewish cemetery. They spar over big ideas and big secrets. When the police arrive, it could mean big trouble! A Philadelphia premiere [about two gay icons of the 1960s] directed by Liam Castellan.” Sept. 6-14, The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.

And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens by Blue Suede Productions
“Tennessee Williams began writing Queens in 1957 but worked on it until 1970. It tells the story of Candy Delaney, a transvestite living in a luxurious flat in 1950s New Orleans. Desperately heartbroken, she meets Karl at a bar, lures him home, where she will do anything for his true companionship.” Sept. 8-9, London Grill/Paris Bar, 2303 Fairmount Ave.

Eternal Glamnation by Brat Productions
“Brat Productions returns with last year’s Fringe hit Eternal Glamnation, a nuclear GlamRock fantasia about finding your true self underneath the glittery shadow. … It’s a Studio 54 blender cocktail of rock and roll mixed by renegade music director and performer Andrew Nelson. Expect selections from Bowie, T. Rex, Queen and Lou Reed.” Sept. 8, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St.

Eric Singel as Starzina Starfish-Browne in "Looking For Uranus." Photo courtesy of Joseph Garwood.

Looking for Uranus: Starzina Starfish-Browne’s Comeback Tour by SSB Unlimited
“Ass(tromalogical) Ho(roscopulist) extraordinaire and star of the Time of the Month Horoscope video series shares intimate details of her decades in show business. How can you “come back” when you’ve never really gone away? Written and performed by Eric Singel of The WaitStaff and 2011’s The Wedding Consultant.” Sept. 8, 11-12, 15, 18-19 and 22, Café Nola, 414 S. Second St.

MORE Sex-Ed Burlesque by Chlamydia dell’Arte
“Gigi and Meg are back with an all-new sex-ed burlesque! More dancing! More singing! More Cooking with Wine! More Gertrude and Mrs. Dugan! More fan dancing and striptease! More hilarious burlesque about all things sex! Come for the titillation, stay for the education.” Sept. 10-12 and 17-19, The Dive, 947 E. Passyunk Ave.

Bastard Piece by No Face Performance Group
“In a basement, down a hall, behind a door that wasn’t there, and endless parade of stunted reminiscences drifts through the bodies of three performers. One grasps for memories from strangers’ photos. Another paints a white wall’s history from scratch. The third gets lost with every turn.” Sept. 11-15, 17-21, Pig Iron School Studio Two, 1417 N. Second St.

If I Were A Drag Queen, I Would Be Famous by Shannon Agnew
“Divas come out to play with claws bared! Shannon Agnew delivers hilarious parody, sharp satire and Broadway hits performing as legends Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews, Patti LuPone and more. Agnew’s enthralling vocals, rollicking, irreverent humor and uncanny impersonations are spot on.” Sept. 11-15, Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. Eighth St.

"Opera Macabre"'s Michael A. Lienhard and Chadwick Somers. Photo courtesy of Harish Pathak.

Opera Macabre: Edgar Allan Poe by Philadelphia Opera Collective
“Enter the world of the original Master of Suspense, Edgar Allan Poe. Opera Macabre brings Poe’s classics to life with chilling suspense and lurid language. Philadelphia Opera Collective takes on another American storyteller with their signature approach to opera that is both accessible and visceral.” Sept. 13-15 and 19, The Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom St.

Bat Boy: The Musical by Life Theater Company
“Based on a story in The Weekly World News, this musical comedy/horror show is about a half boy/half bat who’s discovered in a cave. He’s eventually accepted and taught to act like a “normal” boy. Bat Boy finds love and happiness, but this is tragically shattered when a scandalous secret is revealed!” Sept. 18-22, The Adrienne Theater.

Lucinda’s Bed by BrainSpunk Theater
“Lucinda wants to be good. But when the Monster under her bed introduces himself one night, Lucinda finds out that staying good will be harder than she thinks. Even when she’s grown and married, the Monster turns up. Will there always be something sinister lurking just beneath the covers?” Sept. 18-22, Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

Bradley K. Wrenn, David Johnson and Justin Jain in "The Talkback." Photo courtesy of Robert Smythe.

The Talkback by The Berserker Residents
“Three master thespians have gifted you the show of your life. Rejoice! They’ve agreed to do a talkback. The creators of The Giant Squid and The Annihilation Point conduct an experiment that lampoons the art form they claim to have conquered. Go for the talkback, stay for the show.” Sept. 18-21, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place.

XY Scheherazade by Unstuck Theater
“A white transwoman in a crumbling, burning America and a woman in medieval Persia are telling frantic stories to delay their impending deaths. Somewhere between The Arabian Nights and The Road, this is a fantasy of armageddon, trans/gender identity, and storytelling as a survival technique.” Sept. 19-22, Plays & Players Theatre.

INTERDISCIPLINARY

Lauren Rile Smith and Sarah Nicolazzo of "Break/Drift/Resist." Photo courtesy of Michael Ermilio.

Break/Drift/Resist by Tangle Movement Arts
“Sometimes, opening a window for yourself slams a door on someone else. In this dynamic circus-theater show, nine women explore how groups adapt, transform, and absorb shock. Tangle’s aerial acrobats ricochet from floor to ceiling, build connections, spark chain reactions, catch, collide, and clash.” Sept. 5-7, Philadelphia Soundstages, 1600 N. Fifth St.

FILM

Gender Reel Film & Performance Art Festival
“Gender Reel, is the nation’s one and only, coast-to-coast, film and performance art festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming and transgender people, images and experiences.” More on Gender Reel hereSept. 19-21, The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St.

COMEDY/IMPROV

Federal Detention: The Musical by The Panic Hour
“This musical tells the true story of the imprisonment of marijuana activists N.A. Poe and Adam Kokesh, targeted by Park Police at a protest on 5/18/2013. The pair spent 6 days in federal detention. Now their struggle is told hilariously through song! 90 min incl. brief intermission.” Sept. 11, 14-15, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St.

DANCE

"Cavidad" dancers Enza DePalma, Matthew Ortner and Stephanie Crousillat. Photo courtesy of Corey Melton.

Cavidad by E|N|Z|A
“Come into a world that’s been here long before you. Overexposed and unemotional, Cavidad unravels the complexities of love, fear and attraction. Lose yourself in the movement with fluorescent light sculptures in a cold environment that reflects the people in it. A dance experience unlike any other.” Sept. 6-8, 13-15, Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St.

Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak by Brian Sanders’ JUNK
“Creator of many of the Festival’s most popular shows, Brian Sanders premieres his newest dance sensation involving high heels, nursery rhymes, and a black portal of memory at the 23rd Street Armory. An enormous dead oak tree stands next to a white sand dune and an adult’s bedroom, all game for the mystical playfulness of the dancers. Expect raw physical daring, striking imagery, and a ‘sweet’ in-your-face attitude.” Sept. 6-15, 23rd Street Armory, 22 South 23rd St.

Patty Petronello and Andrew David Swackhamer in "Love ... And a Little Torture." Photo courtesy of Abby-Gleason.

Love … And a Little Torture by Yes Brain Dance Theater
“An evocative blending of improvisational dance and traditional theater that explores the space between love and hate, or push and pull. Inspired by Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love,” this spontaneous and honest exploration takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride to an unforgettable climax.” Sept. 7-8, Vox Populi, 319 N. 11th St.

BASEMENT by Gunnar Montana
“Welcome to the darkest corner of this year’s Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Immerse yourself in a beautifully twisted, violently artistic and utterly macabre love story. BASEMENT explores everything from what goes “bump in the night” to the nooks and crannies of creative movement.” Sept. 13-15, 19-21, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.

The 17th annual Fringe Arts Festival runs Sept. 5-22. For more information and ticket links to these and other shows, go here.

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