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Lake Effect Fringe Festival 2016 brings unique theater experiences to Dog Story Theater

The Lake Effect Fringe Festival, in it's 4th year, will give you plenty of theater to see in February


LEFF 2016 Tickets

All performances take place at the Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson SE, Grand Rapids, 49503.  Tickets for all events can be purchased in advance on the Dog Story Theatre’s website:, and are $14/adults and $8/students and seniors.

The Lake Effect Fringe Festival 2016 will take place February 4 through March 6 at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, and will present a variety of theater experiences from a hyper-local gaggle of seven theater production companies.



When we first started the Festival in 2013, we talked about several important goals,” says Katherine Mayberry, organizing Board Member.  “One was to draw audience and media attention to the smaller budget theatre companies that perform in the Dog Story Theater, which audiences might not even be aware of.  Another was to feature the work of local artists, like the playwrights whose work is produced during the 10-Minute Play competition.”  Most importantly, Mayberry suggests that “the festival helps to expose that audience to other groups that they might not have seen before.” 


This year, 10 different performance options, from verse to song, improv to classics, comic to philosophical will all be housed at the Dog Story Theater in Downtown Grand Rapids. Known for its local-grown theater experiences, The Dog Story Theater has hosted some of the newest local talent in playwriting, acting, directing, and more. Now, for the fourth year, the store-front style, black box rental space continues its tradition with hosting the 2106 Lake Effect Fringe Festival. 


Charles Fortenbacher, Facilities Manager of the Dog Story Theater says that "Because we (Dog Story Theatre) are an all-volunteer non-profit, it is possible for just about anybody to rent our venue and produce and perform original works and other low budget productions.  As a black box theater, Dog Story is extremely dynamic.  With every production, our space is transformed to fit the vision of each unique performance group.  As a result, Dog Story Theater is the perfect venue for the only fringe festival in West Michigan.”




February 4, 7:00 p.m.:  No Outlet Improv Troupe


February 5-7: Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company

An “original practices” Shakespeare troupe, Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company explores contemporaries of the Bard, with their "In Your Face" performance style of John Webster’s tale of backstabbing, murder, mystery, and sibling rivalry in The Duchess of Malfi.


February 8, 15, 22, 29, 8:00 p.m.,  Dog Story Theater

Monday Night Comedy” for audiences and improv-artists to enjoy every Monday night. Tickets are $5 at the door.


February 12 & 13, 8:00 p.m.: Art by Ellis

Founded by local, published theatre historian, Dr. Roger Ellis Ph.D., follows with Anton Himself, and Masha, Too, by Karen Sunde. This two person slice-of-life examines a moment in the life of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov and his sister Masha.


February 14, 8:00 p.m.: Urban Arts

A new avant-garde theater troupe in Grand Rapids, Urban Arts presents “24-hour Theater”: where playwrights, directors, actors and crew have 24 hours to take a play from concept to curtain on the 14th.


February 26-28: Urban Arts

The 10-Minute Play Competition, a longer process in incubating playwrights, features 8 short pieces that will be adjudicated during performance.  The winners of this process are offered the opportunity to workshop and create a larger piece the Urban Arts season.

February 18 &19, 8:00 pm: M.Y. Musical World

Inferno - the Musical, by Ian Mockerman and Julia Yob, is a tragic, film noir-style reimagining of the classic Dante’s “Inferno”, the piece is set in a pre-Pearl Harbor dirty town in 1941, beginning in prison, where a convicted criminal is given the chance to tell his side of a disastrous story. Clever characters, witty banter, and a mix of French jazz and contemporary music theatre melodies take audiences on a tragic journey where they are reminded that not every story has a happy ending.


February 20 & 21, 8:00 pm, The Throwbacks

The Throwbacks are four jazz vocalists (Chaz Bratton, Carson Reau, Austin Campos and Zack Bowser) accompanied by a small ensemble, performing classic pop standards and songs from golden age musicals, the great American songbook, etc. Audiences will hear songs made popular by Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bobby Darin, and many more in a lounge-style concert of great music and comic interactions.


March 4 & 5, 8:00 p.m., Urban Arts

Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones, is a tragicomedy, the play is set in a small town in County Kerry, Ireland, which is being overrun by a Hollywood film crew filming the “Quiet Valley.” The efforts of the production crew to create a proper, romanticized “Irish feel” often conflicts with real life in a rural Irish town and the result is both hilarious and poignant. The play calls upon the cast of two to perform all 15 characters, often switching gender and voice with swift dexterity and the absolute bare minimum of costume changes.  Stones in His Pockets won the Irish Times/ESB Irish Theatre Award for Best Production in 1999, two Olivier Awards in 2001 for Best New Comedy and was also nominated for three Tony Awards


March 6, 3:00 p.m., No Outlet Improv Troupe

Interactive improv with No Outlet Improv Troupe.




All performances take place at the Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson SE, Grand Rapids, 49503.  Tickets for all events can be purchased in advance on the Dog Story Theatre’s website:, and are $14/adults and $8/students and seniors.

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