No more fringe
Capping off seven years of successful annual performance extravaganzas, The New Orleans Fringe Festival recently announced a big change. No longer will it be known simply as one of many Fringe-type events held around the country; instead, its founders have bestowed on it a new, distinctly local name: faux/real [a chain of events].

Why the rebranding? Fringe Executive Director Kristen Evans explains that the local theater environment has evolved since the festival launched in 2008, and participating venues and artists “have become astronomically better at producing and marketing their own” programming. It’s clear, she says, that the diverse performances that have shaped the Fringe have arisen from an array of independent thinkers and innovators.

“So we’re getting out of the way – removing rules and red tape – and making a chain of events that is easier to participate in, easier to manage and even more fun to attend,” she said.
The online publication NOLA Defender will produce faux/real, with Publisher B.E. Mintz serving as executive producer. The new event will be a three-week celebration of performing arts and literature staged in various locations around the city in November.

“Theater will be at the core of the schedule, with an expanded offering of wild, weird, fresh, original performances just like those that festival-goers have enjoyed at the Fringe Fest,” Evans promised.

Evans, Fringe Development Coordinator Swamp Deville, and Technical Coordinator Leah Farrelly will all sit on an advisory board for faux/real. Additionally, several key Fringe coordinators will join the new endeavor.

Mid-City Theatre hangs tough
It may be running on borrowed time, but Fred Nuccio’s popular Mid-City Theatre will keep the music and laughs coming this spring. Cabaret performances are preparing to take the stage in March. Then Varla Jean Merman returns, along with Ricky Graham, Sean Patterson and other regulars, in a repeat run of the hugely popular “Gone With the Breaking Wind,” which plays April 2-19.
Nuccio had previously announced the theatre would close in March as a portion of the property was being sold, but a snag in the sale has given the venue a temporary reprieve, a spokeswoman said.

I’m flying!
Fans of the hit Broadway musical “Peter Pan” can look forward to a theatrical treat this summer when Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts brings the magic to its own stage in a local production. Auditions were under way as OnStage went to press, and Director Kelly Fouchi was reminding aspiring actor/singer/dancers that anyone who hopes to play the character of Peter, Wendy, Michael or John “must be willing to fly!”

Rivertown recently announced an all-musical lineup for its 2015-16 season ranges from “The Producers” and “The Addams Family” to “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

Tomorrow’s stars shine at Southern Rep
Southern Repertory Theatre has lined up a busy spring educational program for young students in a series of after-school workshops at the Jewish Community Center. Musical theater is the focus as Southern Rep puts kids aged 4-8 through their paces in preparation to present “Horton Hears a Who!” and rehearses students aged 9-12 for a production of “The Lorax.” Both shows will take the stage on May 12-13. See for details.

Read all about it
Spring always produces a burst of creativity among local producers and performers, and this year is no exception. The array of dramatic, comedic and musical offerings on tap by local theaters, performance groups and classical music organizations is rife with crowd-pleasers.

In the following pages, you’ll find snapshots of the entertainment lined up in dozens of venues. Check the organizations’ websites for updated details, and make plans to be there when the lights go down.

As a side note, don’t forget the annual Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival, featuring speakers, workshops and one or two of the playwright’s unforgettable stage dramas. See and get your tickets now for the March 25-29 festival.

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