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Best of the Fest

This year's Fringe Festival starts Friday and boasts over 200 shows in sixteen days. Here are our picks of the lineup.

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The cast of Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party.  

Notes on the Land of Earthquake & Fire
Players Theatre; 115 MacDougal St., nr. Minetta Ln.; 866-468-7619
Jason Schafer, who wrote the screenplay for Trick and worked on the series Queer As Folk, wrote this biting comedy about a Hollywood assistant bending over backwards to supervise his boss's daughter and protect his house from a strung-out producer. Added bonus: The show stars studly "Subway Hero" Chad Lindsey.

Alchemist of Light
Connelly Theater; 220 E. 4th St., nr. Ave. B.; 212-982-3995
This multimedia comic thriller is based on the life of Georges Méliès, the man who "invented" special effects on film. The show combines live performance, magic tricks, and clips from hundreds of short films. Watching his most famous work, A Trip to the Moon, in the vaudeville house–like Connelly Theater should be nothing short of transporting.

Citizen Ruth
Minetta Lane Theatre; 18 Minetta Ln., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-420-8000
Musical adaptations of campy movies may be old hat, but it’s rare that a political satire gets set to song. Based on the 1996 film starring Laura Dern, Citizen Ruth follows a pregnant, paint-huffing woman who unwittingly becomes a pawn in the abortion debate.

Camp Wanatachi: A New Musical
Dixon Place; 258 Bowery, nr. Houston St.; 212-219-0736
Mercurial Productions’ tuner has all the ingredients of a hilariously subversive piece of theater. Focusing on two 13-year-old girls who fall in love at their Christian summer camp, the show features tongue-in-cheek numbers like “We All Need Jesus in Our Lives” and “Let’s Ride Bareback,” a nod to the offbeat humor of movies like Saved! and Hamlet 2.

Mutti's After Supper Stories
The Cherry Pit; 155 Bank St., nr. Washington St.; 866-468-7619
One of the festival’s few child-friendly offerings, this production of Brothers Grimm fairy tales follows in the steps of the crossover hit stage version of Coraline. “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” and other tales are brought to life by a five-person cast, including a mother and her three real-life children.

666
Minetta Lane Theatre; 18 Minetta Ln., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-420-8000
For something completely different, check out Spain's critically acclaimed physical-comedy troupe, Yllana. Without using a single word, these four men take on a subject as dark as the death penalty and mine it for humor.

Far Out
Minetta Lane Theatre; 18 Minetta Ln., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-420-8000
A singing eyeball with the voice and legs of Tina Turner is one of many things to look forward to in this musical valentine to the alien-invasion B movies of the fifties. A cast of Broadway regulars, including Spencer Liff and Nick Adams, play the familiar characters—the mad scientist, the overzealous army colonel, and the sock-hopping teens.

Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party
HERE Arts Center; 145 Sixth Ave., nr. Spring St.; 212-647-0202
If you can get past the ridiculous name, you'll see an ingenious piece of genre mashing with timely themes and cheeky dance numbers. The story concerns a teacher on trial in Lincoln’s hometown for questioning the president’s sexual orientation, told from the perspectives of the prosecution, defense, and a reporter covering the case. That the audience decides the order of the show only adds to the fun.


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