Why did the building cross the road? Because the structure, home to Hodge’s Sandwich Shop, was designated a historic building and happened to be in the way of some new construction.
So Douglas Development moved the brick box across New York Avenue, which explains why the Fort Fringe landscape will look slightly different this year. The headquarters of the seventh annual Capital Fringe Festival — the massive, unjuried crush of theatrical performances that will descend on Washington July 12-29 — had to be rejiggered. The surprising arrival now sits, floorless and on risers in the parking lot home of the Baldacchino Tent, Fringe’s bar and iconic, if toasty, venue.
To work around the vacant building, there will be a smaller bar area and reduced tent capacity, which is shrinking from about 400 to 325, according to Fringe founder and executive director Julianne Brienza. On the plus side, the plan is to have sidewalk seating and waiters serving up sliders, tapas, burgers, half-smokes and other menu items. The bar may look a bit more stylish this year, as well, thanks to furniture courtesy of Miss Pixie’s.
While usable space is more condensed, the festival itself will be bigger, not to mention more spread out. This year’s installment spotlights 134 productions (10 more than last year) at 20 venues. Although many of the Convention Center-area destinations will be familiar — Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church and the soon-to-close Warehouse Theatre — new locales include Caos on F and Gala Hispanic Theatre (sweet, sweet air conditioning) in Columbia Heights.
The stages promise a fairly equal mix of familiar faces and newcomers. Fringe mainstay Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue returns, this time with “The Brontes,” and Cap Fringe first-timer Brian Feldman will present a unique one-on-one performance entitled “BFF.” Dance fans will also have more to love this time around: there will be 13 dance-focused productions compared to last year’s two. Intrigued? Tickets go on sale June 18.
The change-averse should also prepare themselves, because the current iteration of Fort Fringe, in the old A.V. Ristorante building, won’t be around forever. After the 2013 festival, the headquarters will move to an as-yet-undisclosed neighborhood. A very secretive Brienza plans to announce the destination during this year’s festival.
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