© 2022 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

From ‘maximum silliness’ with a Donald Trump musical to serious drama, St. Lou Fringe returns

One of the productions featured at this year's St. Lou Fringe is a musical about Donald Trump.
One of the productions featured at this year's St. Lou Fringe is a musical about Donald Trump.

St. Lou Fringe Festival is back for a fifth year, running Aug. 19-27 in Grand Center, and features everything “avant-garde, independent and brand-new” that “you wouldn’t see in other theaters here in St. Louis,” said Matthew Kerns, the festival’s new executive director.

This year’s Fringe features acts from Colorado, Nashville, as well as those native to St. Louis. All the acts are one hour or under.

This festival will also mark festival founder Em Piro’s last. You can listen to a wonderful Cut & Paste podcast interview with her here.

“We are a home for ideas that can take root,” Kerns said. “We are a home for anything from dance to slam poetry to puppetry to family stuff to micro theater.”

Kerns, who also founded Drama Club STL, was joined on St. Louis on the Air by two writers whose work will be featured at the festival this year: Elizabeth Townsend and Dan Viggers. The work they will feature at the festival is a testament to just how varied different performances can be.

Townsend hopes her one-woman show, “Count Time! The Life and Times of Patricia Prewitt,” will catch the attention of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon with the based-on-a-true-story of Patricia Prewitt, who has served 30 years of a 50 year sentence after being convicted of murdering her husband. Townsend argues that Prewitt did not do it after interviewing her and others close to the story herself.

A promotional image for Elizabeth Townsend's "Count Time!"

In the play, Townsend portrays nine different people. She hopes Nixon will take notice of the play, commute Prewitt’s sentence and set her free.

Viggers’ production couldn’t be more different and yet, his musical is sure to catch more than a few eyes this political season. It’s called "Big Hair, Big Dreams: The Donald Trump Mini Musical" and was inspired by an interview he saw on television.

“You get a lot of ideas, they go through your head when you’re a writer, and this one came up last December when Donald Trump gave this ridiculous interview saying he had a disadvantaged childhood and that he was poor,” Viggers said.  The first thing I thought was: ‘Oh, this is a musical’ and then I thought ‘The Fringe Festival.’ The Fringe Fest is a nice opportunity to get these odd projects that no one else would produce out there.”

The best part? The musical is performed with puppets.

“This is maximum silliness,” Viggers said.

Much of the festival is geared toward adults, but Kerns wants people to know about the family-friendly opportunities that exist also.  You can learn more about those opportunities here.

Related Events

What: 2016 St. Lou Fringe Festival
When: August 19 - 27, 2016
Where: Grand Center
More information.

What: St. Lou Fringe Festival Presents "Count Time! The Life and Times of Patricia Prewitt"
When: Aug. 19, 20, 21, 25, 26 and 27, 2016
Where: Duet, 3526 Washington Ave., Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63103
More information.

What: St. Lou Fringe Festival Presents "Big Hair, Big Dreams: The Donald Trump Mini Musical" 
When: Aug. 20, 21 and 27, 2016
Where: .Zack Incubator, 3224 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

Stay Connected
Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.