Last month’s Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival proved to be the most successful in the fest’s 23-year history. During the 14-day event, 34,456 tickets were sold to over 10,000 attendees, returning $273,728 to the artists. All those numbers are at least 10 percent higher than last year’s figures, despite the loss of one performance venue. And Fringe 2015 will have a little more budget to work with, thanks to a $25,000 grant in the state budget signed last week by Gov. Rick Scott.
Last week, Mad Cow Theatre announced that Aradhana Tiwari has been appointed the company’s resident director and will direct Tribes and The Philadelphia Story for the 2014-15 season. Tiwari, who opens Cock on June 20 and previously directed The Road to Mecca and Other Desert Cities for Mad Cow, will also teach classes and workshops, starting with a three-day Viewpoints intensive in July. With Elena Day’s current production of Hair, it’s nice to see more female directors getting a chance to lead the herd at downtown’s most prominent theater company.
In late May, the Orlando Ballet selected Jim Mitchell as their new executive director, stepping in for interim executive director Ron Legler, who departed for Baltimore. Mitchell, an experienced arts administrator from Arkansas, previously served on the Arkansas Arts Council and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. He will guide the Ballet as it moves into its new home at the Loch Haven Community Center.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater has cast Davis Gaines as Javert in its fall production of the mega-musical Les Miserables. Gaines, an Orlando native and veteran Broadway performer, is best known for performing the title role in The Phantom of the Opera more than 2,000 times in New York. He revealed that he will be taking on the role of the antagonistic police inspector during his recent cabaret concert at the Abbey.
The Cripple of Inishmaan, through June 15 at Valencia College East … Hair, through July 6 at Mad Cow
The Foreigner, June 12-29, UCF Black Box … Clandestine Arts presents Aida June 13-29, the Venue … Varietease: The 50th, June 20-23, the Venue … Shout! The Mod Musical, June 20-29, Winter Park Playhouse … Cock, June 20-July 20, Mad Cow … Neil Simon’s Rumors, opening June 20 at Theatre Downtown.