Cincy Fringe 2024: Alan is excited about 4 Shows with Local Roots (but there will be a lot of great local shows)

I've identified shows which have a local focus, with either the performer(s) living here or have roots in Cincinnati. 

By Alan Jozwiak

Before this year’s Cincy Fringe begins, there is the yearly ritual of trying to figure out which of the thirty-plus shows in the primary lineup to see.

It can feel overwhelming without some help.

As a Fringe fan and frequent attendee, I usually spend some time on this research. I’ve identified shows which have a local focus, with either the performer(s) living here or have roots in Cincinnati.  I’m focusing on local shows because the out-of-town artists often already have awards attached to their shows, online reviews from other Fringe Festivals, or a robust web presence. These Primary Line-up shows are eligible for “Pick of the Fringe Awards.”

Here are four shows to watch out for in the 2024 Cincy Fringe:

1.Castaways by Silver Linings Productions

Billed as “Gilligan’s Island meets Waiting for Godot in memory care,” the Liz Coley comedy explores the life of those living in nursing home memory care, living in an veritable Gilligan’s Island condition on not being able to escape. This may sound depressing, but Coley’s script is more of a celebration of life in the midst of end-of-life changes.  With humor and heart, this play looks like it should be fun and thought-provoking at the same time.

NOTE: I have a personal connection to Coley. She is a board member of Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative (CPI), where I am also a board member. Apart from this personal bias, Coley script is a poster child for CPI’s resources, since she had several cold and stage readings of this play to polish it for production.

2. As If You Will Remember: Words, Music, and Dance Exploring Dementia’s Love and Loss

As If You Will Remember takes a more serious take on the issue of dementia.  This piece is billed as an interdisciplinary piece that creates “a space to express and process grief, move emotion, and experience healing.”

The team behind this show makes this production a standout. It showcases two award-winning poets, an award-winning musician, and the talents of Michael Burnham as dramaturg/director.  This show shapes up to be a moving exploration of dementia.

Cincy Fringe 2024

3. Meet Me At The Bathtub: The Short Life & Tumultuous Times of Charlotte Corday

Local actor Samantha Joy Luhn makes her Cincinnati Fringe debut with a play about Charlotte Corday. Corday assassinated French Revolutionist Jean-Paul Marat in his bathtub (Marat suffered from a skin disease which necessitated him taking long hot baths).

Luhn is a solid performer, a Falcon Theater regular actor, and someone who should be able to tell Corday’s life with wit and wisdom.

4. Cancel This Musical by Wesley Zurick 

While based in New York City, Zurick is a local boy who graduated from SCPA. While a senior at SCPA, he co-wrote the musical The First Book of: The Bible. It was a hit during the 2011 Cincy Fringe and won that year’s FringeNext award. He also wrote Exodus! The Story of a Boy for the 2012 Fringe.

Cancel This Musical sounds like it will be in the same vein of hilarious irreverent musicals, this time talking about cancel culture and the need to counter its tendencies to reduce the individual.

Now go to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival website and explore for yourself. Get your All Access Pass or at least the 6-Show Flex Pass and support our local artists, as well as discovering something new. (There are also many local artists involved with Fringe Special Events and Fringe Development shows. These are not eligible for “Pick of the Fringe” Awards.)

A new Calendar for everything onstage from LCT’s member theatres.

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