September 6, 2016 (New York, NY) – Amidst the hundreds of shows that can be seen each year at the New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, it’s hard to know which of the brand-new shows will become the hits of the festival until after the final curtain is drawn. Critics’ responses roll out during the festival, and trying to catch a show as it becomes acclaimed can often be like chasing an errant plastic bag down Broadway on a windy day. Luckily, the Fringe Encore Series offers audiences another chance to see the best productions from not only the New York International Fringe Festival, but its sister across the pond, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Between September 8th and October 30th, the SoHo Playhouse will host 14 productions from FringeNYC and 7 from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Each of the shows underwent careful consideration for selection, done by a team of seasoned theater experts. This year’s process was led by Britt Lafield (Founder and Producer of the Fringe Encore Series, overseeing the NYC selections) and Darren Lee Cole (Producer Fringe Encore Series, Artistic Director SoHo Playhouse, overseeing the Edinburgh selections).
This year’s series includes several Overall Excellence Award winners from Fringe NYC, like Pucker Up and Blow and The Radicalization of Rolfe for Best Overall Play; Mother Emmanuel for Best Overall Musical; Zamboni for Best Direction; Chip and Gus for Best Ensemble; The Box Show and Rent Control for Best Solo Performance; and Dementia Americana for Best Playwriting. Together, these shows make up nearly a third of all the awards given out for the FringeNYC festival, but they’re only a portion of the Encore Series’ impressive lineup.
More than just a chance for theater lovers to see the best of Fringe, the Fringe Encore Series serves as a way for young and often undeveloped artists to have a chance to advance their work with the helpful hand of the Encore crew. Each production team is given greater exposure to audiences they might not have reached otherwise, and it has proven invaluable to the artists lucky enough to have their shows selected.
In the words of the PigPen Theater Co., “The Encore Series presents an opportunity to regroup, retweak, and remount a show that you know is already resonating with New York audiences. It provides a stamp of approval from a festival community that’s seen the developing work of thousands of artists from all over the world, which in turn draws some of the best theatrical producers and creative thinkers into its audiences.” The evidence speaks for itself; The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking, a Fringe Encore selection in 2014, is now in its third year of its Off-Broadway run, and its producer Anthony Caporale has credited the Series, saying, “the Fringe Encore series gave us our start.”
The staff at SoHo Playhouse is passionately dedicated to helping deserving artists get a foothold in the New York theater scene, which is so often a game of immeasurable effort and little payoff. Britt Latfield, founder and producer of the Encore Series, said it perfectly:
“What I want to do with the Encore Series is try and provide a gap between the success these productions gain in FringeNYC and achieving their next level, whatever that is for them. It is very difficult in this city for a talented indie theater artist to make the jump to a more professional artist. And not usually because of lack of talent but because of inexperience and lack of knowledge. It is hard to learn all the complexities of producing a large scale production. We try to be there for the participants to answer any questions they might have about unions or budgets or what have you. We offer feedback on productions to the creative teams and advice on where to go to achieve their goals for their shows. Sometimes we even get personally involved with the production or the company and help them get to that next phase. There is too much talent in this festival for it all to be over in two and a half weeks.”
The Encore Series provides an unbeatable chance for audiences to see works early on in their development. The best of the best are gathered each year, and their once-in-a-lifetime runs get extended for a twice-in-a-lifetime chance.
All shows selected from NYCFringe will range in price from $18-$22, and those selected from Edinburgh Fringe will be $30. Find more information on the Encore Series and tickets for each of the shows at http://www.sohoplayhouse.com/.