Get-out-of-town fever has hit Washington theater, too: Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue and Dog & Pony DC are taking their shows on tour.
“A Killing Game,” Dog & Pony DC’s interactive, absurdist
party-game/performance, went to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (known as Cincy Fringe) this month. “The Brontes,” Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s rock-and-roll take on literary sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne and their brother Branwell, is headed to the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF, pronounced like “nymph”) at the beginning of next month.
Dog & Pony DC’s show premiered at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in December and will be part of the Capital Fringe Festival next month. Colin K. Bills, the director of “A Killing Game,” described the process of putting together a Dog & Pony DC show: It takes at least 18 months and, more likely, two years, for the team to put together a complete production.
“When you have a process that’s that long, you kind of want to live with it a little longer,” said Bills. “You want to present it as many times as you can.” Bills, along with Dog & Pony DC co-founder Rachel Grossman, has been working on a touring model for the company so its shows can go “to fringe festivals, smaller theater festivals, larger theaters’ second spaces . . . and the Cincy Fringe was really our first foray into that.”
Cincy Fringe is a juried festival, unlike the come-one, come-all model of Capital Fringe here in the District, “so it has a little more cachet,” Bills said. And there are prizes! Dog & Pony DC was awarded the Dr. Robert J. Thierauf Producers’ Pick of the Fringe.
With only 30 shows and a track record of sending shows from relative obscurity to Broadway — “Next to Normal” and the one-act musical called “[title of show]” both got their start at the festival — NYMF is the most visible platform Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s has enjoyed to date.
The cost of bringing “The Brontes” to New York is about $25,000 for production fees, renting the space (the play will be performed at the Signature Theatre on 42nd Street), travel, hiring a publicist for the run, paying the actors and crew, and lodging, said Steve McWilliams, the play’s co-author. Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s raised just over $7,000 on Kickstarter and is funding the rest “through the generosity of our friends, family and fans,” co-author Debra Buonaccorsi said.
“I’m a huge Bronte fan and I have been for much of my life, and I think there’s something really appealing about this story,” Buonaccorsi said. “Which is funny because a lot of people thought, ‘The Brontes? That’s a terrible idea. That’s the most boring thing I’ve ever heard.’ But it’s these four misfit siblings, and all they have in the world is each other. It’s this family story.”