Chase Padgett has earned numerous awards, rave reviews, and standing ovations at sold-out shows in fringe festivals all over the world. You will have the opportunity to partake of the joy and excitement encountered by thousands of festival-goers when the musician/singer/actor brings his unique performance of “6 Guitars” way beyond the fringe to The Bistro Off Broadway on Thursday, February 22, part of Darke County Center for the Arts’ casual Coffeehouse Series. But what is a fringe festival, you ask?
Unconventional, unorthodox, and avant-garde are but a few of the dictionary definitions for fringe, but “off-off Broadway” is, for obvious reasons, the one I favor for this show in Greenville. Fringe festivals first sprang up in 1947 around the Edinburgh International Festival when innovative independent groups of performers not invited to participate in the big arts showcase set up shop “on the fringe” at the edge of the main event, attracting attention and acclaim with their spontaneity and creativity. The movement grew and spread, and now such performing arts festivals can be found all over the world, with dozens of fringe festivals currently thriving throughout the U.S.A., including in nearby cities Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
The Orlando, Florida Fringe Festival was founded in 1992, making it the oldest such event in North America; that’s where Chase Padgett’s professional career got its start in 2010 when the recent college graduate decided to combine all the stuff he wanted to do into a one-man show. He created characters based on people from his real life, then incorporated the universal language of music into an act that has from the very beginning moved audiences to laugh, to cry, and ultimately to have a really good time.
Padgett’s show in which he plays six different characters, each performing a different genre of music, includes something for everyone. Each character performs songs and tells stories revealing how that character was introduced to the music he loves. Old bluesman Tyrone Gibbons who drips with the mud of the Mississippi Delta is but one of the personas embodied by Padgett in the show; there’s also Michael, the exuberant hard-rockin’ wannabe who still lives with his mom, Rupert, the country singer who croons, “I got a dog, I got a truck,” naïve folk aficionado Peter who has a tendency to over share, stereotypically pretentious jazz fan Wesley, and the soft-spoken, language-mangling Spanish classical guitarist, Emmanuel.
In addition to creating sharply etched and immediately memorable characters, Padgett displays impressive chops as a musician who can demonstrate that music, whether celebratory or sad and regardless of genre, profoundly affects the human spirit and is essential to life. The Portland, Oregon resident says that his show has grown exponentially in the time he’s been doing it, thanks in part to the adventurous spirit of freedom surrounding the fringe festival circuit. “It’s one of the few places where an artist who has a crazy idea can just go do the idea; you don’t need an incredible name or a famous person attached to your project… and if it’s really good people will show up,” he explains.
Chase Padgett promises that you’ll see your own musical memories reflected back at you in his one-man show; if you love music, any music, this is the show for you. Tickets for “6 Guitars” cost $10, and can be obtained by contacting DCCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 937-547-0908; tickets are also available online at www.CenterForArts.net. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.