Now in its 16th year, FringeNYC comprises all forms of theater for the biggest performing arts fair in North America. We spoke with co-founder Elena K. Holy to learn about the inner-workings of the fest.
How do you choose which shows make the cut?
It's about an eight-week process that involves about 100 people, and we look for innovation, vibrancy and diversity. The excruciating part is having to make what can feel like sort of random choices, because a lot of really wonderful and worthy works get declined. But sometimes a show will get declined because they don't need the opportunity that FringeNYC presents.
Are there any shows you're particularly excited about?
Oh, well, I don't play favorites. Once we get through that excruciating adjudication process we've picked our, I guess this year, 187 favorite.
This is the festival's 16th year. What was the first one like?
Starting this festival, I think the two key ingredients for us were youth and ignorance. ... It's amazing how much we've grown, [but] even kind of more refreshing how we've stayed true to the roots of this festival. ... We had a musical go to Broadway -- "Urinetown," from '99. That rocked our world in a lot of great ways, and it could have changed us in a lot of not so great ways.
What other successes has the festival had?
We've had everything from television shows to movies made from FringeNYC shows. ... But even when shows don't have a future life, it's amazing to look back at our press photos from the early years and be like, "Oh my gosh, that's so-and-so!" ... Many folks started here.
Mindy Kaling, someone just told me that she talks in her new book about having started at FringeNYC with her show "Matt & Ben." Director Leigh Silverman ... she was one of the few female directors on Broadway. We always love when they come back, too. Greg and Mark, who wrote "Urinetown," did their new musical in last year's FringeNYC. How flattering is that? We're still having fun, and that's the main thing.