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“The Bicycle Men” pedal to Fringe

Local News

The Rochester Fringe Festival continues with performances of “The Bicycle Men” in the Spiegeltent today through Saturday, September 20-23.

One of the show’s writers and stars Joe Liss, who grew up in Clifton Springs and attended Midlakes High School, discussed coming home and performing live Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“Screaming Eagles!” said Liss recalling his days at Midlakes. “I played some soccer there at Midlakes. My drama teacher was Keith Childs.”

After high school Liss went off to Chicago to pursue his passion. “I learned the art of improv from the masters at Second City,” he said. “Paul Sills, one of the creators of Second City, I learned from him and workshops. And then I finally auditioned a couple of times and got myself into the touring company at Second City, and then eventually worked my way up into a Main Stage company.”

Liss created “The Bicycle Men” with John Rubano, Mark Nutter and Dave Lewman. “The four of us, we all have some Second City pedigree in us and got together while we were in L.A. and said, hey, we should put up a show.”

It’s garnered rave reviews in London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Actor and comedian Steve Martin called “The Bicycle Men,” which is a musical all done in song, brilliant and funny. “It takes place in France,” said Liss. “It’s all about an American who’s on a bike tour of France and his bike breaks down in a small French town in France, and he’s then terrorized by the locals. So it’s sort of like that Jean Paul Sartre’s ‘No Exit.’ He can’t get out of the town until his bike is fixed. So he has to wait, and he wasn’t planning on staying in the town, so basically he’s just bounced from parts of the village.”

For Liss, who has a lengthy film and television resume, there’s something specail about performing before a live audience, as he will at the Rochester Fringe. “I’m passionate about it because I love live performance and I love to perform, and I love to perform my own material!” he said with a laugh. “And you wear many hats when you put a show up. You write it, you perform it, and then we’ve also been producers too, so the whole.. complete package.”

Performances in the Spiegeltent are as follows:

Wednesday, September 20 at 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 21 at 9:00 p.m.

Friday, September 22 at 9:15 p.m.

Saturday, September 23 at 9:15 p.m.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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