BEST FESTIVAL (1999)
A fringe festival of any stripe is wonderfully unpredictable, seemingly poised on the brink of anarchy despite its organizers' best intentions. Scores of performers compete for attention, audiences trek like art-seeking pilgrims from one theater to the next, and show quality swings dramatically from first-rate to spectacularly bad. In short, risk is inherent in every aspect of the event. That's why we're so lucky to have Dean J. Seal, the wizard behind the curtain, who ensures that each summer we'll have ten days to enjoy many fine examples of artistic mayhem from local, national, and international talent. This year's event, scheduled to run from July 29 to August 8, promises an all-time-high of 60 shows. Which makes it one of the great theatrical bargains around: a $50 pass guarantees entry to each and every performance.