Nick Stuccio’s Live Arts and Philly Fringe Picks

The festival's producing director lists his must-see shows

It’s damned unfair to ask the guy who spends his whole year handpicking the most amazing performers from around the world for our Live Arts Festival to choose favorites—but we got producing director Nick Stuccio to do it anyway. (And while we were at it, we made him predict three standouts from the 190 Philly Fringe offerings, too.) His picks got us really excited about this year’s festival, which runs from September 2nd through 17th. Check for performance dates, times and venue details.


Traces / 7 Fingers
“It’s this big circus, a group from Montreal that mixes acrobatics with theater and dance. A total winner.”

Play / Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa
“Larbi—that’s what people call him—is the top name in contemporary dance in the world, probably the most amazing dancer I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen him dance with the top flamenco dancer in the world, and last year at Lincoln Center, he got 17 Shaolin monks to come and dance together. Now he’s with [renowned Indian performer] Shantala Shivalingappa. It’s the kind of work I love.”

The Radio Show / Kyle Abraham
“An abstract dance piece that’s just fierce, about the loss of African-American talk radio in America. Only every once in a while does someone come along who’s doing something this new. Very smart.”

The Method Gun / Rude Mechs
“A theatrical piece about a fictitious theater company, in which this woman has a gun in her rehearsals for a production of A Streetcar Named Desire—well, it’s a crazy idea, and the whole piece is about A Streetcar Named Desire without any of the main characters. It’s hysterical.”

The Devil and Mister Punch / Improbable
“Julian Crouch is a high-profile theater guy from the U.K. who’s done all this super-huge stuff like directing and designing Broadway’s Addams Family, and Jerry Springer—The Opera at London’s National Theatre. His theater company, Improbable, is almost a side thing, but they do puppetry dark, wacky, not for kids. This will be a hit.”

Canyon / John Jasperse
“An American treasure, this interesting, provocative, super-duper-smart guy, and a brilliant experimental dancer who makes beautiful movements. He’s an icon.”

More Mouvements Für Lachenmann / Xavier Le Roy with Bowerbird
“Experimental music by a composer named Helmut Lachenmann, with an interplay between the musicians and dancers’ movements. The choreographer, Xavier Le Roy, is one of the five or six most important in the world. Super high-level, really beautiful stuff.”

Elephant Room / Geoff Sobelle, Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford “People around here know Geoff Sobelle. The show he’s doing about three magicians—stuff they learned from actual magicians—well, it’s going to be absolutely hysterical.”


Japan House
The latest from the Leah Stein Dance Company features Japanese and American dancers at Fairmount Park’s Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.

The Aliens
Theatre Exile presents the Philly premiere of playwright Annie Baker in a work about two ex-band members who “introduce a lonely teenager into their world of alienation and rebellion.”

Paris Wheels and the Ready Maids present … Not the Henri Rousseau that Some of You Know …
Sebastienne Mundheim’s White Box Theatre company uses dance, music and puppets to show Paris through the eyes of painter Henri Rousseau. A big hit during PIFA.