Satirical Clown Show Taking Aim at Multi-Level Marketing Debuts at Cincy Fringe

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Image by Jonny Woolley

UPLINE: It’s Not a Show, It’s an Opportunity makes its world premiere this week in Cincinnati. New York-based performer Megan Stern and Las Vegas-based director Shannan Calcutt invite you to a Varmon makeup party! Varmon is the multi-level marketing empire that has it all: beauty, skincare, diet shakes, oils. It’s also an irresistible business opportunity and your ticket to financial freedom. Think GOOP meets Mary Kay meets NXIVM. Just don’t call it a pyramid scheme. In this solo show, Megan Stern leads you up through the ranks of Varmon –  skewering the beauty industry, wellness culture, and girlboss feminism.

Performances are Saturday, June 4 at 5:30 PM; Wednesday, June 8 at 9:00 PM; Friday, June 10 at 9:00 PM; Wednesday, June 15 at 7:15 PM; and Saturday, June 11 at 7:15 PM at the Art Academy Room 204 (A204), 1212 Jackson St. Tickets are $16 and will be available at the door, Fringe Headquarters,, or by calling 513.300.5669(KNOW).

Megan Stern, a New York-based performer and writer, has been called “excellent” (Los Angeles Times), “utterly delightful” (Broadway World), and “a complete original” (Chicago Theater Beat). Her work has been seen in such New York venues as The Public Theater, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, Walkerspace, BAX, and HERE Arts Center, as well as the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, and the Kennedy Center.

A multi-award winning artist, Shannan Calcutt has played an eclectic range of venues worldwide. From the Sydney Opera House, to San Francisco’s Bimbo’s 365 Club, to Cirque du Soleil’s sensual sensation, Zumanity. She has designed comedy acts for Cirque du Soleil, Spiegelworld, the philanthropic event One Night for One Drop, and Berlin’s Friedrichstadt-Palast. Currently, Shannan is the Associate Resident Director of Spiegelworld’s Atomic Saloon Show in Las Vegas. 

THE CINCINNATI FRINGE FESTIVAL, Cincinnati’s most unpredictable theater festival is back and ready to save us from the scourge of online theater. Impulsive, spontaneous and often combustible, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival – this is the 19th – runs June 3-18. Unlike the past, when venues were scattered all over the place, this year’s venues are all within a couple of hundred yards of one another; six in the Art Academy, and one more in the Know Theatre. Here are the numbers; 2 weeks, 38 ticketed events, 177 performances. Most are live, but small handful are digital. Tickets are $16, with an optional “Love Your Artists” ticket for $20. Learn more at 

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