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FringeNYC Makes Experiments The Main Event

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The New York International Fringe Festival kicks off Friday, and NY1's Frank DiLella has a preview of what's on tap for this annual theatrical event.

A few musicals, some comedy and drama, a little dance and even wrestling -- anything goes at FringeNYC, a city summer staple. Now in its 17th year, the New York International Fringe Festival is the largest multi-arts festival in North America.

Elena Holy serves as the producing artistic director.

"We have a really wonderful rack of science plays this year. We also have a lot of wonderful relationship stories, family dramas that have a little twist in them and then, of course, the amazing twisted classics which we are famous for," Holy says.

FringeNYC will feature 185 shows from all over the world. The festival is set to play in 20 venues across the city, including La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre in the East Village.

One of the productions, a play called "Sheeple," deals with a group of "coming of age" teens. Film actress Mara Wilson, best known for playing the title character in the 1996 feature "Matilda," makes her Fringe debut as playwright with this show.

"The thing that I like about FringeNYC is that they are very accessible, and that is something that I believe in very strongly when it comes to theater," Wilson says. "I think theater is a universal art that is only unfortunately seen by very few."

Also on tap is a comedy entitled "Rubble," written by Mike Reiss, one of the head writers of "The Simpsons." The show stars Emmy winner Bruce Vilanch as an aging comedy writer who gets caught up in an earthquake.

Vilanch says he's thrilled to be part of FringeNYC, a festival he calls "a theatrical laboratory."

"It's a place for an audience to come and discover thing and people who are really passionate about theater come and find stuff they like and it can get something started," he says.

To catch Vilanch in "Rubble," Mara Wilson's "Sheeple" and all the other 2013 Fringe selections, check out FringeNYC from August 9-25. For more information on the festival, visit www.fringenyc.org.

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