Minnesota Fringe 2010: The early numbers are very, very good

Categories: Theater
Licking the competition: "An Adult Evening With Shel Silverstein" at the Minnesota Fringe
The Minnesota Fringe Festival enjoyed a surge in popularity over the four-day opening period from last Thursday to Sunday. In figures released yesterday, the Fringe announced that 18,895 tickets were sold, a 9.9 percent increase from 2009. Yowza. 

The Fringe also reports 17 sold-out performances during opening weekend. Topping the list is An Adult Evening With Shel Silverstein, with three sell-outs, and The Damn Audition, with two sold-out shows.

Now, these numbers are a little more complicated than they appear on the surface. Shel Silverstein plays at the Rarig Xperimental, which is smaller than some other Fringe venues. And The Damn Audition's figures are respectable indeed, although the Fringe counts sell-outs on its Rarig Thrust stage based on filling only the main floor (the balcony is considered a bonus).

Still, a sell-out is a sell-out, and the scene over at Rarig this weekend was one of truly impressive crowds. And a 10 percent increase in ticket sales from one year to the next is certainly a sign of a healthy festival. The Fringe probably did itself a huge favor by keeping ticket sales at $12, which stacks up nicely against just about any entertainment option in town.

And remember: Part Two of our Fringe coverage in CP comes out Wednesday with a passel of reviews.

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