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Rochester Fringe Festival announces 2014 headliners 

Includes Circus Orange, Jay Pharoah, and Spoon River Rochester


The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival has announced the headlining acts of this year's event, which will run September 18 to 27 in multiple venues in Downtown Rochester. Performance company Circus Orange, acrobatic troupe Cirque Du Fringe, comedian Jay Pharoah, and a walk-through presentation of Spoon River Rochester will head the more than 360 shows taking place during the third year of the Rochester Fringe Festival.

click to enlarge Circus Orange. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Circus Orange.

Circus Orange -- who mix circus, dance, acting, aerial arts, fire, pyrotechnics, and special effects for grandiose, larger-than-life theatrical performances -- will perform "Tricycle" on Friday, September 19, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Manhattan Square. An 18-foot tall tricycle accompanied by music and special effects will wind its way through the crowd on Court Street, culminating in a fiery, high-flying performance. You can see a taste of the performance with the video below.

Organizers also announced the "Magic Crystal" Spiegeltent will return, following a popular reception at last year's festival. Rochester Fringe became the first fringe festival in North America to incorporate a Spiegeltent.

click to enlarge Cirque du Fringe. - PHOTO BY ERICH CAMPING
  • Cirque du Fringe.

Cirque du Fringe will take full advantage of the Spiegeltent with "Mardi Gras!" a new production led by the twisted 20 Penny Circus, featuring the Kenya Safari Acrobats and a musical mix of New Orleans jazz, blues, and R&B. Cirque du Fringe will perform "Mardi Gras!" each night, September 19 through 27 -- times vary.

Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah will be this year's comedy headliner with two shows on Saturday, September 20, in the Spiegeltent. Pharoah has recently become a rising comedy star due to his stand-up and celebrity impressions -- those who watch SNL will recognize his Barack Obama, Will Smith, Kanye West, and Eddie Murphy imitations.

click to enlarge Comedian Jay Pharoah. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Comedian Jay Pharoah.

Pushing the boundaries of audience and performer, Spoon River Rochester is a free walk-through performance of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. Masters' collection is 244 free-form poems narrating the epitaphs of the deceased residents of Spoon River, a fictional small town. During Spoon River Rochester, created by local group Method Machine, audiences will roam along Gibbs Street among the 300 performers reciting epitaphs. Fringe Festival organizers said this is the largest production anywhere of Masters' work.

The headliners are just a fraction of the Fringe Festival's full lineup. The full schedule of acts, which will take place in 28 venues -- ranging from parked cars to the Spiegeltent -- and crosses all arts disciplines, is now available at

Individual tickets and the Fringe Fanatic Pass ($190) are now available on the festival's website.

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