Vincent Hannam was at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center in disguise on Monday night, with a shark mask covering his face.
He was trying to get out the word that there’s a bar filled with folks who alternate their time between drinking, shooting the breeze – and fighting off sharks.
“Throughout the day, they fight off giant sharks that have been dropped into the town by tornados,” he said.
Hannam is the author of the book for “Sharknami: The Musical,” a show that will have seven performances next month at the annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
To help build interest in the show, Hannam and the show’s producer, Jay Pastucha, were at the Shakespeare Center on Monday for Preview Night – a sneak look at some of the many shows that will be a part of the 14-day annual arts festival that celebrates its 23rd year in May.
Michael Marinaccio, the producer of the Fringe Festival, said he believes this one could end up being the best yet.
“We have so many new acts,” Marinaccio said just before the start of the Preview Night. “Tonight we’re going to see a whole bunch of them.”
With so much new talent coming into Orlando, he added, “I think we’re heading for the best Fringe ever.”
Pastucha was at the Fringe Festival in 2013, for the show “Pillow Talk,” a comedy about two men on a road trip who are forced to share a bed together.
“We sold out every show,” he said.
Pastucha is back again this year with “Sharknami: The Musical,” which he said definitely gets into the often zany spirit of what Fringe has become so well known and loved for.
“It’s about these tornados that pick up sharks,” he noted.
And it definitely offers a good idea of what Fringe is all about, he added.
“It’s a playground,” he said of the festival. “It’s just so much fun. Anything goes.”
“You get to challenge yourself with things that are not mainstream,” Hannam added.
Country Joe Rosier was also at Preview Night, to help spread the word about his one-man show at Fringe, “3 Old Farts,” about a cranky neighborhood kvetch, a talkative grocery bag boy, and a debonair condo cassanova.
“This is an R-rated show,” he said. “This is going to be a lot of nasty words. I get to play three characters.”
Rosier, who has produced Fringe shows in the past, said the entire event is a joy to be a part of.
“You can do anything you want to do, and Fringe Festivals are all over the country,” he said. “If you do well at one, you can afford to go elsewhere.”
Besides, he added, this is his passion.
“I don’t play golf, I don’t fish,” he said. “I write plays.”
That kind of enthusiasm is extending to this year’s anticipated audience, Marinaccio said.
“People are really excited about it this year,” he said.
As an added bonus, Fringe has introduced a 10 Pass, which offers admission to 10 shows, plus the Fringe button that patrons need to purchase.
“You buy one 10 Pass and it gives you ten tickets and you get your Fringe button as well,” he said. “It encourages people to see more shows. We’ve already sold a few, and there’s a limited number of them.”
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