See You Next Year, Next Stage

Dear Toronto Fringe, Listen, we need to talk.  You know how I feel about you, right? You know how I try and love all my Fringe Festivals equally and with an open heart.  But, I've met somebody else and... I'm not really sure how to say this to you, but it's your younger sister, Next Stage.

I am so sorry and I hope we can still be friends.




The Next Stage Theatre Festival has come and gone (sniff) and I had a great time.  I spent closing day catching LOVESEXMONEY and Morro and Japs (because "sold out" is just a suggestion when you're me) and snuggling up in the super warm and cozy beer tent.  I enjoyed both shows a great deal and somehow ended up with an invitation to the cast party for one and an autographed poster for the other.  I'd let you guess which was which, but lets be honest here, if I got to hang out with Morro and Jasp, I'd probably end up like this:


It's better to get a signed picture. You can't disappoint a picture...


Neuroses aside though, damn Next Stage, you done good!

First of all, I applaud the location.  Factory Theatre is a great space and you managed to squeeze in comfortably spread out three venues and a beer tent all in one spot.  I love marathon fringing, but I am a lazy lazy person.  Give me the shortest distance between my wine and my theatre and I am a happy lady.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been getting a piggy-back ride up to the Antechamber while someone read the program bios to me aloud (note for next year?)  One of my issues with the TO Fringe has to do with how spread out everything is.  I got to meet way more people at Next Stage than I ever have at the Fringe because I could focus my time on new conversations instead of trying to figure out where the George Igntieff Theatre is located, how long it would take me to run there, and can I jog on a stomach filled with beer?

(for future reference: 15 Devonshire Place, 15 minutes & yes, yes I can)

Second, Next Stage was just so much easier to manage then the Fringe.  10 shows! I could see all of them if I wanted to.  And I saw about half, which isn't too bad for someone with two full-time jobs.  If I wanted to see half at Fringe, I'd have to catch over 50 productions... The ticketing staff in the super awesome and cozy heated beer tent (have I mentioned it before?) were great and got to know me on a first name basis.  Everything just felt more personable and welcoming.  Not to mention I really appreciated not being asked to "Tip the Fringe" all the damn time (Don't get me wrong, I get that the festival needs money, but if that's the case then make the buttons mandatory like so many other Fringes across the country seem to do).

Next Stage was just an all around really great little festival with some quality shows that broke box office records.  Congratulations to everyone involved and I will gladly do it all over again next year!


Next year?


Dear Toronto Fringe,

Hey you!  How are you doing? Listen, I may have been a bit too hasty before. I'm sorry. And I swear this change of heart has nothing to do with the fact that your kid sister just packed up shop and left town... because really what did I expect from a 5 year old? Right? Right.

Anyway, I know I may have said some things, but I wasn't really in my right frame of mind.  I think Morro & Jasp put some gluten in that desert I ate. You know how I get when I have gluten.

So, we're good right? Because I was wondering... do you have any plans in July?

Call me!