The Atlanta Fringe Festival, which begins its fifth season Wednesday, never disappoints with the names of its acts and performances.

T. Anthony Marotta performs “(becoming) Hue Man,” described as a clown and puppet play on mask-ulinities.

Barry Manilow Is in My Closet, Coming to Zimbabwe, Corpulent Porpoises Productions, Foolz Paradise, Zombie Sex, K.I.S.S. (Kennesaw Improv Society, Stupid!), (becoming) Hue Man, Disaster Aboard the Orlando, Deeper Into Ladyland (Or the Gospel According to Kelly Clarkson) are all part of the event running through Sunday (June 8-12) in Little Five Points.

It features 24 productions – cabaret/variety, solo, drama, contemporary dance theater, music and motion installation, theater, comedy, spoken word, sci-fi, improv, magic, contemporary ballet and mime/mask theater – from metro Atlanta, Athens, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as Falls Church, Va.; Hoover, Ala.; St. Louis Park, Minn.; and Oakland, Calif.

Technically, the ticketed fest begins Thursday, but every act will do a three-minute excerpt during a free party Wednesday at 7 Stages (show time 8 p.m., doors open at 7:30, 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E.). 7 Stages is the fest’s headquarters and one of four locations for performances. The others, all in L5P:

  • Wrecking Bar Brewpub’s Marianna event space, 292 Moreland Ave. N.E.
  • International Montessori Academy, 1240 Euclid Ave. N.E.
  • Horizons School, 1900 DeKalb Ave. N.E.

Per tradition, the 24 productions were chosen through a random, unjuried lottery — literally pulled from a hat. The lineup includes 10 companies returning for a second, third or fourth fest.

New & free

  • Free family-friendly performances. In Findley Plaza as a part of the Little Five Arts Alive project. Includes dance, clowning, improv, performance art and more. Expect, also, Fringe 2016 artists to perform free previews of their shows.
  • Free shuttle. Service runs from Little Five Points to the fest’s farthest venue, the Horizons School. Such Atlanta comics as Samm Severin, Jen Lenny and Julian Modugno will act as “tour guides.” Expect music from Atlanta band Oryx & Crake.

It pays to perform

“The Voices Made Me Do It,” at least that’s what Malcolm Grissom says in his show.

The 2016 fest features cash prizes for favorite shows chosen by audiences, staff and a panel of Atlanta arts judges, including a $500 Critics Panel Choice, a $200 Producer’s Award (chosen by Fringe staff) and $150 awards for audience picks in the categories of solo/small group and ensemble performance.

Free streaming

The free-streaming component Fringe Audio is back and available now through June 12. The podcasting network features storytelling and radio theater pieces, most world premieres, from local and national artists. The artist with the most “likes” receives $100.

This year’s entrants include a healthy representation from Atlanta’s live lit community, with many coming from such popular series as Write Club Atlanta and Scene and Song Missing. Last year’s artists tallied more than 2,000 listens from users in 23 countries.

If you go

All attendees must have a festival button, included with fest passes or for $3 with single ticket purchases. Passes come in three categories: six-show ($40), 10-show ($60) and all-access ($90). Details HERE.

Stay connected

Follow the Atlanta Fringe Fest on social media channels for announcements, artist profiles, volunteer requests and parody rap lyrics. Find it on Twitter, Facebook  and Tumblr.