The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with nearly 3,500 shows. This year, Playbill is in Edinburgh for the entire month in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!
If you've looked at the Broadway boards over the last decade or so, you'll quickly see that the Main Stem loves a jukebox musical. Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and countless others are some of the Main Stem's biggest hit shows. And now Edinburgh Fringe Festival has gotten in on that action too.
If you're a jukebox musical fan and attending this year's Fringe Festival, here's five shows you'll want to check out.
The Billy Joel Story
theSpace @ Symposium Hall
August 4-18, 20-27, 7:05 PM
Broadway got a Billy Joel music with the 2002 dance musical Movin' Out, but that didn't endeavor to tell the Piano Man's life story. London-based singer-musician Angus Munro is taking that on at this year's Fringe with The Billy Joel Story, covering the Grammy winner's journey from childhood on Long Island to international acclaim. Munro, who plays piano and saxophone and is a recording artist himself, sings "Piano Man," "Uptown Girl," "Always a Woman," and more during the 50 minute–long show.
Adele: Still Someone Like Me
Le Monde, Dirty Martini
August 3-27, 4:00 PM
Hello, it's Adele. Well, actually it's Boston rock-and-roller Sarah Borges, here at Edinburgh Fringe to sing the songs of Adele. Borges performed the "Someone Like Me" singer's catalogue at last year's festival, which quickly became a sell-out. You can expect to hear all of Adele's chart toppers, including "Hello" and "Easy On Me"—and this venue makes it easy to sip a cocktail as you take in the show!
The Aretha Franklin Story
theSpace @ Symposium Hall
August 4-27, 12:40 PM
The world mourned when The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018. It is difficult to even find words to describe how much Franklin's artistry has meant to the world. Bringing her incredible songs and life story to Fringe this year is Cleopatra Higgins on '90s British girl group Cleopatra, who will take on such iconic tunes as "Think," "Natural Woman," and "Respect." Higgins will also recount Franklin's inspiring life story, from her early days as a church gospel singer in Detroit to becoming The Queen of Soul and selling more than 75 million records worldwide.
Frankenstein Pub, Bier Keller
August 3-27, 3 PM
English singer Oliver Harris counts Roy Orbison, Elton John, Tom Jones, and Pavarotti (yes, you read that correctly) amongst his vocal influences. Somewhere in that mix gives Harris a striking ability to recreate the singular rock-and-roll voice of Elvis Presley, an artist Harris has been bringing to Edinburgh Fringe for eight years now. The sell-out concert gets a new songlist every year, so this is a good one to put on your list even if you've been before.
Celine Dion Experience Featuring Jasmine Alice
theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall, Fleming Theatre
The world was crushed earlier this year when Rolling Stone published a list of the 200 best singers of all time and Celine Dion did not make the list. Performer Jasmine Alice is here to show you the magic of Dion, using the power of vocals, of costumes, and even, of love. Alice performed the show in Europe and she is now taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe. We expect it to make us know that, we're alive. Also, the show does encourage singalongs so get that singing voice ready.
Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Two
Ok, so this one is extra and it's a little different from the musicals listed above because it's not a jukebox musical persay (at a certain point, the characters note that they couldn't get the rights to any songs). But using original music by Valen Shore and Alison Zatta, it tells the story of the fame trajectory of a band, in this case, the '90s boyband N*SYNC, and why they broke up right after releasing two hit records back to back. But it doesn't spotlight the band's most famous member: Justin Timberlake. Instead, it follows Chris Kirkpatrick, who on Christmas Eve, makes a wish to get the band back together. Oh, and the band members are played by an all-female actors. It's loopy and fun, and the '90s-style boy-band songs and choreography are on point.