Theater Beat: 'Cocktail Plays' at Fringe; Theatre Horizon has co-directors

(Left to tight:) Tyler S. Elliot, Darcel Caldwell, and Grayce Hoffman in "#CocktailPlays.

Gin and theater: Together at last

The Fringe Festival, opening the Tuesday after Labor Day, includes several shows that combine theater and foodstuffs and drinkstuffs. Among them is #CocktailPlays, Sept. 18-20 at Philadelphia Distillery, 25 E. Allen St., which serves up four world premieres with suggested alcohol "pairings."

Sonya Aronowitz, founder of Juniper Productions (get it?), is putting on the event. A confirmed Philly-lover these days, she comes from Manchester, England, where theatrical artists are crossing genre and entertainment boundaries all the time. She's hired four local playwrights - Alisha Adams, Josh A. Campbell, Mark Costello, and Bill D'Agostino - to create four short dramas, and, as she puts it, "move the seats around so the people are close to the action."

Each piece is paired with a suggested quaffable: a Maple Kiss for Adams' Binders, a Dark 'N' Stormy for Campbell's Distill, a martini with a lemon twist for Costello's What We Talk About, a Manhattan for D'Agostino's Disclosure.

Tickets are available for the show alone ($20) or for the show plus one drink of your choice beforehand ($30). Bar opens an hour before play time and again for an hour afterward.

Marcia Ferguson directs. Actors Darcel Caldwell, Tyler S. Elliott (T.S. Elliott!), and Grayce Hoffman do multiple roles. "When I told everybody they'd get paid, they cried," Aronowitz says.

New Bucks County pairing

The Bucks County Playhouse has opened a ticket booth in . . . Peddler's Village in Lahaska. Playhouse artistic director Alexander Fraser calls it "an excellent opportunity to reach new audiences." I call it smart: Plop down a ticket booth in this well-trafficked tourist center.

Comings, goings, goodbyes, hello-ings

We can now announce June Ballinger's successor as helmsperson at Passage Theatre in Trenton. Welcome, C. Ryanne Domingues, a great get. Domingues helped co-found Simpatico Theatre and is a terrific director and all-around stage person. She will keep busy: On top of her New York stage work, she starts teaching adult acting classes at Passage in October. Can't think of anyone else I'd rather learn from.

Theatre Horizon in Norristown announces that KC MacMillan will serve as guest artistic director during the 2017-2018 season, featuring stories of "women who dare." Current artistic director Erin Reilly is taking a maternity-related sabbatical. Horizon's coming season celebrates strong heroines, with 2.5 Minute Ride by Lisa Kron, The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson, and Peter and the Starcatcher.

Can't wait to see

FringeArts presents more than 180 shows in 105 venues, Sept. 5-24. Yes, it can over- and underwhelm. But try it.

On that opening Tuesday, for example, you could take in either Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano by the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (7:30 p.m., Bethany Mission Gallery, 1527 Brandywine St.) or Hello, Blackout! by New Paradise Laboratories (8 p.m., Proscenium Theatre at the Drake).

215-854-4406 @jtimpane

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