It's the final weekend of the Orlando Fringe Festival, the annual theater extravaganza of short plays that takes over Loch Haven Park in May. With more than 90 shows this year, there were plenty worth seeing.
Here are the Orlando Sentinel's "best of the fest" — a dozen productions our team of reviewers thought were tops in their class. The shows play at various times through Sunday; you can see the complete schedule at OrlandoFringe.org. All of the ticketed shows were reviewed by the Sentinel — you can read some critiques in today's Calendar section. All reviews, which also include showtime and price information, are available at OrlandoSentinel.com/fringe.
And now, alphabetically, the best of the fest:
• 'All-New Nashville Hurricane': Chase Padgett plays multiple characters, all interesting, in this cleverly scripted story about a reluctant country-music legend.
• 'Bless Me Father for I Have Danced': The big Broadway-style dance numbers, including tap, provide a spectacle not seen elsewhere at the Fringe.
• 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson': A highly polished presentation of an irreverent rock musical examining our nation's growing pains through the exploits of the larger-than-life president.
• 'Ennui': Circus arts are given emotional underpinnings in this moving and exciting show.
• 'Escape from Baldwin Park': The laughs come fast and furious in this fast-paced, local-themed comedy.
• 'God Is a Scottish Drag Queen II': Mike Delamont, in the guise of the Almighty, serves up crackling humor.
• 'Reincarnation Soup': Viet Nguyen's show isn't the flashiest but it resonates deeply as it puts an evocative spin on culture, history and the human spirit.
• 'Seasons': Elaine Pechacek and Katie Hammond's heartfelt musical about mothers, daughters, family and times of crisis will have you reaching for the tissues.
• 'Something Weird in Weeki Wachee': John Ryan's script is complemented by fine acting from leading ladies Elizabeth T. Murff and Peg O'Keef in this wacky comedy full of pop-culture fun.
• 'The Surprise': Martin Dockery weaves a true-life story about finding a family he never knew halfway around the world through vivid description, comic interludes and a stylish sense of urgency.
• 'There's No Place Like Home': Playwright Michael Wanzie explores the theme of home in three short works: A character study of an aging Brooklyn Jew and her concerned daughter, a surprising drama about religion's impact on youth; and a campy comedy reimagining the death of Judy Garland.
• 'Varietease': Blue Star shows she can still strike a chord and create otherworldly ambience through dance in the latest installment of the popular series.
Orlando Fringe Festival
• What: Short plays, music, comedy and other performances; plus an art show and weekend activities for kids
• Where: Performances are at Loch Haven Park, 777 E. Princeton St., and The Venue, 511 Virginia Drive. Visual art and Kids Fringe are also at Loch Haven.
• When: Through Sunday; the best-selling show in each venue will be presented once more on either Monday or Tuesday. Those shows will be announced during the weekend.
• Tickets: Outdoor activities and the art show are free. To see a play, buy a Fringe button ($9), good for the length of the festival, and then a show ticket ($11 or less)
• More information: Orlandofringe.org
• Reviews of all shows: OrlandoSentinel.com/fringeCopyright © 2015, CT Now