MN Fringe Festival sets attendance records

The Minnesota Fringe Festival reports its preliminary ticket numbers are in. They show:

46,189 tickets were issued to an estimated 15,100 patrons of the 2009 festival.

Gross box office revenue was over $330,000 from 162 different productions at 22 venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Compare this to 2008’s numbers, when a total of 40,926 tickets were issued, generating $297,374.

This is the Fringe’s best year yet, beating out the previous banner year (that was 2006, with 44,692 tickets issued with gross box office of $338,181).

Fringe artistic director Robin Gillette says she blames the success on a number of factors. She says the festival provides a wide array of cheap entertainment, which is especially appealing during a recession. In addition, there was great weather, extensive media coverage, and a really strong line-up.

“Fringe’s success is a heartening sign for all Minnesota performing arts attendance this fall,” said Gillette. “In many ways, Fringe is a wind-up to the next theater season. I think our festival having such an amazing year bodes well for everyone.”

Top ten shows by number of tickets issued:

1. The Harty Boys in The Case of the Limping Platypus presented by Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen at U of M Rarig Center Thrust (1,067 tickets)

2. Bard Fiction presented by Tedious Brief Productions at U of M Rarig Center Thrust (1,046)

3. Sideways Stories from Wayside School presented by Four Humors Theater at U of M Rarig Center Thrust (946)

4. Blue Ribbon Burlesque presented by Lili’s Burlesque Revue at U of M Rarig Center Proscenium (797)

5. Tragedy of You presented by Joseph Scrimshaw Productions at U of M Rarig Center Thrust (785)

6. The Red Tureen presented by Doolin & Dingle at U of M Rarig Center Thrust (756)

7. The Return of LICK! presented by LICK! at Southern Theater (687)

8. The William Williams Effect presented by Balance Theatre Project at Southern Theater (680)

9. Buyer’s Remorse presented by Sarah Gioia and Steve Moulds at Mixed Blood Theatre (637)

10. Tales … Of the Expected! presented by Ari Hoptman at U of M Rarig Center Proscenium (615)

Top ten shows by percentage of house capacity:

1. Projectile Thinking presented by Stages Theatre Company with Jon Ferguson at InterDistrict Downtown School (108 percent)

2. Parry Hotter and the Half-Drunk Twins presented by Empty S Productions at Augsburg Studio (107.5 percent)

3. Sarah, Your Ovaries Are Drying Up: The Musical presented by Crankador Productions at Augsburg Studio (101.5 percent)

4. Two Short Operas: Mr. Berman’s Bath-Size Bar and There’s a Mastodon In My Backyard presented by the Dead Composers Society at Playwrights’ Center (100.3 percent)

5. Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter presented by Paul von Stoetzel at Playwrights’ Center (99.7 percent)

6. 2 Sugars, Room for Cream presented by Shanan Wexler and Carolyn Pool Productions at U of M Rarig Center Xperimental (96 percent)

7. The Traveling Musicians presented by 3 Sticks at Nomad World Pub (95.6 percent)

8. Rumspringa the Musical presented by Best Weird Dog at Augsburg Studio (95.1 percent)

9. Squawk presented by Walking Shadow Theatre Company at Gremlin Theatre (93.6 percent)

10. June of Arc presented by Sandbox Theatre at U of M Rarig Center Xperimental (92.6 percent)

NOTE: All numbers are preliminary and have not yet been subject to a full audit of box office receipts.

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