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Austin grad showing musical at Fringe Festival

Published 10:39am Thursday, August 1, 2013

Austin graduate Josh Larson is taking his long-awaited one-man musical “Jesus Christ Ex Machina?” to the stage at the 2013 Fringe Festival in Minneapolis.

“Jesus Christ Ex Machina” will be performed at Red Eye Theater, located at 15 West 14th St., Minneapolis, in five performances between Aug. 1 and Aug. 11. Larson is not a rookie to the Fringe Festival. He was selected to participate in 2010 with his original play “The Tragedy of Icarus,” which was inspired by his late brother.

The Fringe Festival uses a lottery system to select its participants. This year, Larson wasn’t originally selected and was then put on the waiting list. Last Monday, however, he got a phone call saying another group had dropped out, so he could fill in.

“It’s all luck,” Larson said.

Larson started his acting career at a Riverland production of “The Music Man” when he was in ninth grade. He was also an active participant in the theatre department at Austin High School. He graduated from Austin in 1995 and Riverland Community College in 1997, then went on to major in theater at Southwest State University in Marshall. After, he moved to the Twin Cities to pursue acting.

“I got started in Austin doing shows,” Larson said. “In high school I did pretty much all the plays.”

He describes his current project “Jesus Christ Ex Machina?” as a “mash-up of Greek mythology and Bible stories.” The music has a bluegrass-folk feel, which was inspired from a trip to Nashville with his family. He drew a lot of inspiration for the musical from his own life and struggles, as well as stories from the Bible and Greek mythology.

The musical, Larson’s second production, has been two years in the making. From monologue to music writing, the whole process was very time consuming.

“This is my baby right now,” Larson said. “It takes a lot of time to do it.”

Larson runs his own production company called Suburban Cowboy Productions. His wife helps with graphic design, logos and promotions.

“I have a do-it-yourself attitude,” Larson said.

In the future, Larson plans to continue acting and writing.

“I’d like to keep doing more work, writing more work,” Larson said.

The musical is recommended for children 12 and older. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger, and can be purchased at

This year is the Fringe Festival’s 20th anniversary in Minneapolis. The festival runs 11 days at 16 venues. This year’s fringe will feature nearly 900 performances of about 176 different shows, ranging from comedy to drama to musicals. Venues are in downtown Minneapolis, the Uptown area, Loring Park and the West Bank.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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