Before he became one of the original founders of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 1995, he was a ballet dancer who came to Philadelphia to dance with the Pennsylvania Ballet. He decided to retire when he found passion in producing performance arts, rather than dancing in them. Since, FringeArts has been a platform for cutting-edge, contemporary works. We chatted with Stuccio as FringeArts prepares to launch its fall season in its new home on the on the Delaware River Waterfront.
Tell me about your new headquarters in a 1903 vintage pumping station.
If you’re a culture vulture, you have a place to go. There is an outdoor beer garden, a beautiful bar and restaurant inside and a theater where we bring in world-class shows from all over the world. The outdoor space is so cool. The views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge are great.
What can people expect from FringeArts this fall?
We’re actually doing a little extension of the FringeArts Festival because we’re bringing in a great piece of dance the very first weekend in October. It’s called “Rosas Danst Rosas” and it’s really amazing. Beyonce famously stole the choreography in one of her videos. We’re also hosting a scratch night and we’ll be working with Ars Nova and present avant-garde jazz music. Our season is dynamic. If things pop up, we’ll put them on. Check our online calendar. There’s always something going on. Plus, you can always come here for dinner at La Peg.
The onsite restaurant La Peg just opened last month. How’s the food?
It’s a brasserie-inspired restaurant that serves up comfort food. The owner, Peter Woosley, is French-trained and his father is a well-known baker in France. He has the secret to baking French bread. Everything on the menu is super fresh. There’s roast chicken and mashed potatoes, yummy French fries and steak frites and an awesome raw bar.
What other performances arts venues will you frequent this season?
I’m a fan of the Wilma Theater and BalletX and Off Broad Street Theatre. I’m interested in what Opera Philadelphia is doing—especially the “Opera in the City” program for more avant-garde performances.
What makes Philadelphia’s art scene unique from other markets?
The artists and actors in Philadelphia are multifaceted. They’re not afraid to use their bodies. And then conversely, those who are in the dance world are very comfortable with text. That’s healthy and shows that the artist is dynamic and interesting.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I hang out with my kids and love to play Ultimate Frisbee. In my uptime, I check out what’s happening at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pig Iron School.
Do you get to travel often?
This year’s been tough because we’ve been finishing the FringeArts building, but typically I do get to travel. I go to Montreal every year and a special trip somewhere else to see other festivals. We should be see great art and artists from all over the world. We should see that here.
What destination tops your bucket list?
If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?
I’m Italian. My father’s family is from Calabria and my mom’s family is from the Naples area. I would love to wake up in southern Italy for an awesome cup of coffee and breakfast.
The next thing is to make sure this experiment here isn’t just an experiment. I passionately love art and culture. Let’s see how far we can take it.