Your Guide to the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival
The 26th annual Fringe Festival is about to hit Philly like a ton of bricks. Here are some of the most promising snippets from their four-week-long schedule.
Considering the nearly 200 diverse performances and experiences, 1,000+ international and local artists, and a multitude of adjacent gatherings and programming, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival can be sort of a lot to get involved in. The key to enjoying yourself during this year’s citywide celebration of the arts, is to remain willing and open.
But if you’re not open enough to download an entire app (really, check out the Philadelphia Fringe Arts app for information and ease of scheduling), read on for our picks of the most exciting productions around the city to help plan your Fringe itinerary.
Set in an underground-mall-turned-nightclub, Brian Sanders’s nationally renowned dance troupe JUNK plays up the grim nature of reality-show competition by dropping viewers headfirst into the season finale of a fictional program. Vote for your favorites, with caution.
September 8th-17th, Concourse Dance Bar, 1635 Market Street.
No chefs were harmed in the making of this show. While this production by performer Geoff Sobelle meditates on the act of breaking bread and even has the audience gather at a white linen-covered table to participate in conversation, the food is more of an absurdist prop than actual dinner.
September 8th-18th, FringeArts, 140 North Columbus Boulevard.
Death is a Cabaret Ol’ Chum
This perfect segue into the Halloween spirit takes place at Laurel Hill Cemetery, complete with cocktails and music from the likes of Amy Winehouse and Sonny & Cher. Bring a blanket to clutch for what REV Theatre Company calls a “toe-tapping, spine tingling good time.”
September 9th-17th, Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue.
Romeo & Juliet in a Bar
This isn’t your eighth-grade English class production of the Bard’s single most popular play. This is Romeo and Juliet as the Willy intended, with drinks and plenty of back talk. It’s currently sold out, but if the premise is still as enticing to you as it is to us, reach out to have your name added to the waitlist.
September 11th, The Victoria Freehouse, 10 South Front Street.
I Have to Pay My Rent
Sometimes “art” is going to grab a cheesesteak with your friends. Sometimes it has to be. For four days at Joe’s Steaks just before closing time, interdisciplinary artist Sterling Melcher will cook cheesesteaks while taking viewers through a selection of his pieces that went unfinished in the pursuit of paying rent instead. You can buy the work, if you want, but all Melcher really asks if that you buy a cheesesteak. For tickets, contact him directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 12th-October 3rd, Joe’s Steak + Soda Shop, 1 West Girard Avenue.
The Path of Pins or the Path of Needles
Pig Iron Theater Company and their decades-long mission to bring alternative theater into the conversation continues with this immersive performance exploring fairytales and motherhood. And explore you will — audience members must choose their own path through the grounds of Rigby Mansion for this mystical show.
September 16th-October 2nd, Rigby Mansion, 523 Church Lane.
They get on stage. You get tomatoes. Everyone has the time of their lives.
September 17th, 225 Rochelle Avenue.
Real PlaNet Life
The Real Housewives of the Andromeda Galaxy are coming to Callowhill in this screening of a fictional reality show made by aliens, for aliens. Following the episode, the stars will gather for a delightfully campy live reunion.
September 17th-20th, Vox Populi, 319 North 11th Street.
Ladies at a Gay Girls’ Bar, 1938-1969
This acclaimed solo performance at Tattooed Mom brings the memory of lesbian bars past back to life, drawing on oral history interviews and writer-performer Maggie Cee’s own experiences as a youth activist in the late ‘90s. And while you’re checking out this free dance performance at Tattooed Mom, why not grab a Best of Philly-winning sandwich too?
September 18th, Tattooed Mom, 530 South Street.
An Untitled Love
Choreographer Kyle Abraham and his dance company draw from the catalogue of R&B legend D’Angelo to perform this warm love letter to Black culture and community. This hour-long house party on stage was a NYT Critic’s Pick in February, and it’s easy to see why.
September 22nd-24th, Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut Street.
Artists Devyn Mañibo and Jac I. Pryor seek to balance distance and safety with intimacy and hospitality through this immersive, five-course, “seed to farm to table” meal shared with a circle of strangers. Tickets will be priced on a sliding scale, in order to make this communal experience accessible to all.
September 22nd-24th, Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard.
The Living Gallery
A maze, a warehouse-turned-art-gallery, and a love letter to the cosmos all wrapped into one. This visual art installation includes painting, illustration, light sculpture and live performances all inspired by facets of space. After viewing hours, stick around for another Launch Point production, Unorthodox Methods of Cosmic Flight.
September 22nd-October 1st, Launch Point, 1025 Hamilton Street.
Part film screening, part rock opera concert, all maximum Twin Peaks vibes. The world premiere of this film puts viewers in a “Lynchian psychological escape room” alongside music by the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra. Make sure to get tickets through Opera Philadelphia.
October 1st-2nd, Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut Street.
Bonus: Blind Date at Cannonball Festival
At Cannonball Festival, an adjacent performing arts fest happening at the same time as Fringe in the Maas Building, you can opt to view a select few of their scheduled performances accompanied by a total stranger as part of their Blind Date Experience. Each ticket includes drinks, pre- and post-show discussion prompts, future discounts on tickets and a chance at a prize at the closing of the fest. We’re looking at the captivating acrobatics show I Hear You and I’d Like to Respond and the intimate solo dance performance Me and Jesus and Prince and Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
September 8th-30th, Maas Building, 1325 North Randolph Street.
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival runs from September 8th to October 2nd, with productions staged at multiple venues around the city. Visit fringearts.com for more information on tickets.