Special Sections » Rochester Fringe Festival

CRITICS PICKS: David Raymond


"Dangerous Theatre: Hallie Flanagan"

As director of the government's Federal Theatre Project, Hallie Flanagan gave opportunities to such politically minded artists as Orson Welles, Marc Blitzstein, and John Houseman, with results that were controversial and, to some, unpatriotic. "Dangerous Theatre" dramatizes Flanagan's 1938 testimony to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee – a minatory slice of modern American history. (Sunday, September 18, 5:30 p.m. MuCCC. $10.) Appropriate for teens and adults.

"The Oboe Show"

"The ill wind nobody blows good," as somebody once referred to the lovely but very-difficult-to-play oboe? Probably not in this case, as two virtuoso oboists team up for a variety show combining "sophisticated culture and highbrow comedy in perfect harmony." (Sunday, September 18, 1 p.m.; Saturday, September 24, 4 p.m. Writers & Books. $10. Appropriate for teens and adults.)

"The Geriactors Present!"

No Fringe Festival is complete (to me, at least) without this absolutely charming group of veteran actors and their performances of one-act plays by local writers (this year they are Ken Klamm and Mark Jabaut) and vintage vocal numbers from The 1910 Rochester Songbook. (Tuesday, September 20, 7 p.m.; Wednesday, September 21, 2 p.m.; September 24, noon. Writers & Books. $15. All ages.)

"Janine Mercandetti: Out of Costume"

Definitely not a wardrobe malfunction! Who needs costumes when you can hear standards, contemporary songs, and Broadway belters, performed by a Rochester actor who has shown she can do it all in such musicals as "Parade," "Jekyll and Hyde," and "The Last Five Years"? (Tuesday, September 20, 7 p.m.; Saturday, September 24, 5 p.m. Blackfriars Theatre. $15. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.)

"The Eulogy"

It's a collection of "inept and inapt" eulogies from ill-prepared individuals speaking at funerals. Public embarrassment is a universal condition, and so "The Eulogy" has been a Fringe Festival fave from Adelaide to Atlanta, not to mention a 2015 Quirky Award winner (which sounds like something a Fringe Festival offering should be). (Thursday, September 22, 7 p.m.; Friday, September 23, 7 p.m.; Saturday, September 24, 2 p.m. Writers & Books. $15. Appropriate for teens and adults.)

"Theater Lieder"

A recent classical-music performing trend is presenting a song recital with "something extra" – readings or imagery that enhance the work's theatricality and (we hope) the meaning of the words. This presentation, by singer Andrea McGaugh, pianist Shichao Zhang, and guest actors, tries the experiment with one of the great works of German lieder, Robert Schumann's cycle Frauenliebe und -leben ("A Woman's Life and Love"). (Tuesday, September 20, 8 p.m. Lyric Theatre Prince Street Chamber. $12. Appropriate for teens and adults.)

"Monologues on Clarissa Street"

Old-time Rochesterians will remember the days when Clarissa Street was, as author Karen Culley puts it, where "the soul of Rochester began": a thriving, tightly-knit urban neighborhood and also a thriving location for jazz and soul music. Memories abound in these monologues of Clarissa Street neighbors. (September 24, 4:30 p.m.; MuCCC. $10 Appropriate for teens and adults.)

In This Guide...