Are you ready to Fringe? Five shows to see at the 2012 Boulder International Fringe Festival

With all the parties and workshops and roundtables mashed-up with the shows, there are more than 350 events at this year's Boulder International Fringe Festival, playing out in twelve days at eighteen venues. So how do you choose what to see?

Fringe frontman Dave Ortolano says this year offers at least a few obvious choices, featuring tried-and-true Fringe favorites from the past.

See also:

- Fringe Fanatics - Direct from the Boulder International Fringe Festival: The preliminary 2012 lineup - The Dark Humor of Huffs

The official program was released and tickets went on sale last week for the fest, which begins August 15; here are five must-sees for your Fringe experience-to-be. Put those on your shopping list first, then peruse the rest of the schedule and buy tix at the Fringe website.

Read on, for your fringing pleasure.

Gemma Wilcox, Magical Mystery Detour First show, Saturday August 18, 6 p.m., $12-$15 Carsen Theater, Dairy Center for the Arts.

A perennial best-of-fest star from the fringe circuit, Wilcox is known for rocking several characters at once, in spite of being the only person on stage. There's a risk in that, but Wilcox handles it very, very well.

Society for Creative Aging, Heroes First show, Friday, August 17, 4 p.m, $10-$15 Carsen Theatre, Dairy Center for the Arts

Gerald Sibleyras's comedy, translated by Tom Stoppard, is brought to sparkling life by acclaimed Israeli talent and director Ami Dayan, known for such works as Dario Fo's A Tale of a Tiger and The Man Himself. In Heroes, three friends, each battling his own quirks, gently grow old together; the play garnered a Laurence Olivier Best New Comedy Award in England.

Nicoll+Oreck Dance Theater, Still Napping First show: Thursday August 16, 9 p.m., $10-$15 Naropa Performing Arts Center

This Brooklyn-based couple wowed Boulder at the 2008 Fringe, earning a coveted Encore performance slot back then; Still Napping, a collaboration with improv artists Mike Durkin and Laura Livingston, is a refreshing slap in the face, fraught with humor and slap-dash movement.

Band of Toughs, Midsummer Night's Dream First show: Friday, August 17, 7:30 p.m., $12-$15. Eben Fine Park

This ragtag troupe of Naropa-trained performance artists includes Ortolano himself, but don't hold it against him -- by his own admission, he plays the ass Bottom in the Toughs' outdoor, movable-feast of a Midsummer Night's Dream that's unlike any other. Meet at the park playground and be ready to hike. You'll find yourself right in the midst of Shakespeare's magical story.

Square Product Theatre presents Kelsie Huff, This Show Might Be Terrible First show: Saturday August 18, 4 p.m., $10-$12 East Theater, Dairy Center

Get used to the name Kelsey Huff: The veteran Boulder Fringe dynamo is going to be everywhere in 2012 -- hosting Big Time, the fest's late night talk show; laughing it up at the opening night party and even offering a workshop. And This Show Might Be Terrible is sure to be anything but. Instead, expect nonstop storytelling and ha-ha belly laughs from the Chicago humorist.

Find information on hundreds of other arts and entertainment events in our online Calendar.

To keep up with the Froyd's eye-view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd