July 20, 2015

Fringe Review Roundup (Part One)

The first weekend of the Kansas City Fringe Festival is in the books--and the newspapers, magazines, and online journals. Seven shows by Midwest Dramatists Center playwrights (and artistic staff) made their debuts, and the press has been kind (deservedly so).

After an enthusiastic preview that featured several MDC names, The Kansas City Star has followed up with a favorable review of Michelle T. Johnson's Best Light, which it labeled "impressive" and "absorbing." Johnson's play also won kudos at AXS.com. The same reviewer had plaudits to heap on Sue Aside... by Vicki Vodrey, and more online raves are to be found at BroadwayWorld and Jake's Take, where "this dark one-hour drama" is declared "probably one of Ms. Vodrey’s best works."

KCMetropolis is once again providing the most comprehensive Fringe coverage, and has already posted thoughtful reviews of Ry Kincaid's Presidental Briefs ("a show to add to your Fringe must-see list"), Bird in the Hand by Dave Hanson, ("worth seeing...the very essence of Fringe...") and two play collections: Alphabet Soup: Stories from Queer Voices, featuring Nick Sawin's Ace of Leaves ("distinct...lightning-fast dialogue"), and The Art is a Lie, which includes The Impressionists by MDC artistic director Victor Wishna ("a lovely piece...elegantly written").

The buzz about MDC shows at Fringe is only beginning to...buzz. Stay tuned for more coverage!

July 17, 2015

Vicki Vodrey gears up for Fringe -- in KC and NYC

The Kansas City Fringe Festival (KC Fringe) is officially underway, and Vicki Vodrey's Sue Aside... is one of several shows by MDC writers that are beginning their highly-anticipated runs.

But for Vodrey, Fringe is a national affair--she has also been hard at work on Hard Day's Night--last year's KC Fringe hit that she is now producing, through her company Lot in Life Productions, at the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), which takes place August 14-30.

Directed by New York-based Samantha Tella, Hard Day's Night is a darkly comic story of family dysfunction told from the perspective of Kelly K. Kelly, a 17-year-old outcast who craves a normal life and wants 'a beau.' Instead, she’s trapped in a world cluttered with Disney d├ęcor, pet ashes, Beatles’ lyrics and one hell of a crazy family. But as the play unfolds--after their last pet has died and company is arriving for her parents’ 20th anniversary--she may just get her wish.

"Hard Day's Night is the closest to my heart of any play I've written to date," Vodrey says. "It's all about the relationships we have with our loved ones, whether they're humans or pets. It deals with our getting, or not getting, our needs met. It hopefully speaks to those who feel like the outsider and those who wonder if they're ever heard by their own inner circle. About feeling taken for granted. And yet, with all the frustrations our family and friends can bring us, we wouldn't trade them for anyone else. At least not most of them."

Tickets for Hard Day's Night at FringeNYC are available online starting today.

And don't forget to grab your tickets to Sue Aside..., KC Fringe performances start tomorrow!

July 16, 2015

Shows by MDC writers prominent among K.C. Star's Fringe picks

On the eve of the 2015 Kansas City Fringe Festival (yes, it starts tonight!), Kansas City Star theatre critic Robert Trussell rolls out a nice preview of the proceedings, including quotes from Midwest Dramatist Center's Michelle T. Johnson and Vicki Vodrey and a recommended list of "promising entries" peppered with shows by MDC playwrights: Johnson's Best Light and Vodrey's Sue Aside..., as well as Presidential Briefs by Ry Kincaid and Alphabet Soup: Stories from Queer Voices, which features Nick Sawin's play, Ace of Leaves.

“Fringe is the great equalizer,” Johnson said. “Everybody in theater is on the same playing field. Traditional, paid theaters shut down because we take over the damn city. … I am in my own way as important as anyone else doing a production in theater, and I’m as unimportant as anyone else doing a production.”

Read the whole thing here and below, and be sure to check out the complete schedule of Fringe shows by MDC writers.