As the crowds thinned after Grounded Aerial's sky-high theatrics on the side of One HSBC Plaza Friday night, a woman in a bright red shirt stood outside the nearby Xerox building yelling, "Free show here right now!" It turned out her hawking strategy was a good one: I was there because I planned to be, but many others filled the seats inside the auditorium because they were searching for a next step in their Friday Fringe journey -- and "free" is always a bonus.
These unsuspecting audience members found themselves at the TheatreROCS showcase, presented as a preview of upcoming season selections from a consortium of local theater companies. Sharing emcee duties was "God" (venue manager Kerry Young) and the duo behind the drag extravaganza "Big Wigs," Mrs. Kasha Davis and Aggy Dune.
Oddly enough, the 2015-16 preview showcase kicked off with a number from Webster Musicals' production of "Jekyll and Hyde," a show from 2014. But it eventually made sense: Janine Mercandetti, who performed the song "Someone Like You," has a solo show, "Out of Costume," on New Year's Eve at the JCC CenterStage.
Over the following 90 minutes, there were scenes from Bristol Valley Theatre's "The Gourmet Cabaret" (opens October 15), Blackfriars Theatre's "A Few Good Men" (runs through September 27), Pittsford Musicals' "Cabaret" (opens October 10), JCC CenterStage's "Stardust and Butterflies" (plays September 24 at the Fringe; September 26 at CenterStage), and Unleashed! Improv (plays September 19 at Fringe; at Blackfriars Theatre monthly).
The showcase was a cabaret-commercial-commentary mash-up -- perhaps the best kind of preview -- and with the exception of a consistent mic glitches, quite entertaining. As an added bonus, the "Big Wigs" emcees sashayed and lip-synced their sequined way through the night, performing numbers from their own act (which followed at 10:30 p.m. for $15 per ticket).
The "TheatreROCs Stage presented by Buckingham Properties in the former Xerox Auditorium" (a lengthy stage title Dune and Davis aptly lampooned throughout the show) is the Fringe home to a few of the productions included in the showcase: "Big Wigs," "Stardust and Butterflies," and "Unleashed! Improv Presents: Other Peoples' Shows."
This was the only performance of the showcase, but for more information on TheatreROCS, visit theatrerocs.com.