For 10 days in late August, fans of the performing arts are invited to take a walk on the weird side.

They can see what Hamlet would look like a few beers deep in “Drankspeare: To Beer or Not to Beer.” They can imagine a romance between Cold War rivals in “Mike & Ronnie: A Love Story.”

Local TV icon Dick Wolfsie will perform a one-man show about the art of the Jewish joke. Parodies and tributes of “Dirty Dancing,” Hall & Oates, Dolly Parton and Woody Guthrie will all take the stage.

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The IndyFringe Festival brings together a collection of the most off-the-wall, quirky yet still thought-provoking performances local theater has to offer. The annual festival celebrates creativity, comedy and drama in central Indiana, and anyone with an act is welcome to participate.

This year’s inception will include two of Johnson County’s own telling their personal stories. Greenwood residents Dwight Simmons and JJ Marie Gufreda will each perform solo shows reflecting their own experiences in funny and poignant ways.

Both artists shared their motivations for creating these plays, and what they hope people take away from their performances.

If you go

IndyFringe Festival

What: An 11-day extravaganza of unique performances, ranging from dance to cabaret to standup to drama.

When: Aug. 17 to 27

Where: Eight stages along Mass Ave. Arts & Theatre District, downtown Indianapolis

Tickets: Each show is $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and $10 for children under 12. A five-show pass is available for $55.

Special events

  • Aug. 16: 6 p.m., preview night, the Athenaeum, 407 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis. Artists will perform previews of their shows. Tickets are $5.
  • Aug. 18: 8 to 11 p.m., free street party, 300 block of Mass Ave., Indianapolis. IndyFringe performers, street artists, DJs and a dance party will be included.
  • Aug. 23: 10:30 p.m., Miss IndyFringe Pageant, IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis. Drag queens will perform for the title in front of celebrity judges. Tickets are $15, and all proceeds benefit IndyFringe.
  • Aug. 25: 11:59 p.m., Late Night Cabaret, IndyFringe Basile Theatre. A special show featuring 2017 IndyFringe artists. Tickets are $15.
  • Aug. 27: 8:30 p.m., Closing Night Party, Firefighters Union Hall, 748 Mass Ave., Indianapolis.

Information and full schedule:

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.