There's Always Something New and Different at the Fringe

At my first Fringe festival I played an extremely pregnant Shakespearean wife, a battered woman, and Ringo Starr. This year is a tad bit different! For this year’s St Lou Fringe, I am lucky enough to be working on the new musical “Race Cars & Romance” with The Cruxory Group and St Lou Fringe, written by Klay and Brent Rogers, and featuring an all-star team of Broadway, Orlando, and St Louis creatives.

Musical comedy is one of my all-time favorite genres. And, as anyone who has seen me perform the “Party Dress” song can attest, I love being a little ridiculous. So, when the opportunity came to join the “Race Cars & Romance” cast as Louraine, the sweet, flirty, over-the-top best friend of our lead female mechanic, you bet your bottom dollar I jumped at the chance. A new work? A musical comedy? A crazy fast and exhilarating process with a super talented team? Those are some of my favorite things!

I love new work. I love an environment that fosters new work and feeds creativity. St Lou Fringe, and Fringe festivals all over the world, are some of the best incubators for creating a new piece of art and getting it introduced to the world. They give new, different, weird art a place to start to find its legs and to be seen. Getting to “get in on the ground floor” of an artistic endeavor is a unique experience that I personally feel very drawn to. It forces you as an artist to commit, make choices, try something new, and at the same time, be unendingly flexible and on-your-toes. It’s a constantly moving machine where the parts all change on a moment’s notice.

As an artist, and an arts educator, I find that new works are one of the best tests of my skills and the best way to continually develop my craft. The skills are often the same: flexibility, creativity, high-energy, information retention. When teaching students, I always emphasize the positive, move quickly, and constantly adjust and readjust. It’s the same when working on a new work for the Fringe. Stay positive, move quickly, and pay attention because you never know what might change in the next run!

The Fringe is a home for any and everything weird new and different. One of my personal favorite shows from last year’s festival included “vagina puppets”. It doesn’t get much more “out there” than the Fringe! With “Race Cars & Romance” the St Lou Fringe has expanded its repertoire again, this time into family-friendly musical comedy! It’s a full-length Broadway style musical comedy, all the singing, dancing, and yes-Romance- that you can handle! While it may not be the usual “out there” fare that Fringe-goers are used to, audiences get to enjoy this heartwarming classic comedy Broadway-style musical!

Getting to work on this project with the (I’ll say it again) All-Star team lead by StL native Brandon Bieber has been a wild ride and we’re only halfway through! The team constantly refers to this process as “fast and furious” and that is honestly the only way I would want it. This show is charming, funny, and chock-full of crazy, sweet, and hilarious moments. There is a little something for everyone in this musical RomCom! I can’t wait for St Louis audiences to join us at the Oil Change for a feel-good time!

St. Louis based actor and arts educator Rachel Bailey returns for a second year as a Fringe artist. Flexible and versatile, she believes the Fringe is the perfect opportunity for her to explore different theater forms as well as a variety of characters she never thought she’d get the chance to inhabit.

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