Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Countdown to FringeNYC (3 Days Till Opening)

Seven years ago, I said something out loud that has haunted me ever since. What I said was, hey, nytheatre.com ought to review EVERY SHOW in the New York International Fringe Festival.

Whoever I was with at the time said, "Yes, what a great idea!" And so, for the 2002 FringeNYC, we set out to review all of the shows in the festival--something no other organization had ever attempted. We enlisted about 60 colleagues--actors, directors, playwrights, stage managers, etc.--to pitch in. And we did it. And when it was over, I took some deep breaths and said, wow that was fun, let's not try that again! And everybody I knew said, "Oh no, nytheatre.com needs to do this every year!"

And so we do.

This will be the 8th year that we tackle this mission. If I sound at all reluctant in these preceding paragraphs, it's just for comic effect -- I love that we do this, and I love doing it.

There are two important reasons why we do this every year. First, we believe that every show in FringeNYC deserves informed, considered feedback about their work. Most press outlets only review a tiny fraction of what's presented in the festival each year, and coverage tends to be skewed toward certain kinds of shows. But everybody participating in FringeNYC has something in their hearts and minds they're burning to share with audiences. They need to be heard, and our reviewers are here to listen...and to communicate back to them in return.

The second reason is for our readers and audiences. This festival is SO BIG...and it's really imperative for people to have some way to figure out which shows are the ones they want to see. By reviewing every show, we're able to serve these people, by giving them some information to help them sift through 200+ choices each year.

Our review coverage starts on August 14th, the night the festival opens. We're scheduled to review our first 35 shows that night...and continue steadily over the next 2 weeks until we're all done, on about August 28th or 29th. You'll see links to our reviews on the home page of nytheatre.com every day. The newest reviews will always be highlighted. And reviewer picks, of the best of what they've seen, will be showcased on our nytheatre picks page.

I can't wait to get started!

Tomorrow, I will introduce you to the members of our reviewing squad. Check back...

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