Fringe 2009—Returning favorites: Empty S Productions and Tom Reed


by Matthew A. Everett | 7/9/09 •

Rockstar Storytellers adjacent #3, by way of Maximum Verbosity (and Allison Broeren)

Empty S Productions & Tom Reed

Parry Hotter and the Half-Drunk Twins

single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of six bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.

One man. Seven books. No rules. An irreverent solo reenactment of the eccentric tale of Harry Potter, mixing in pop culture and song, this parody will delight most Potter fans, but not uptight fun-haters or centaurs.

This one’s sort of a combo platter/two-in-one deal. Empty S (Michael Shaeffer) was on my Top 20 list in 2008, and Tom Reed is one half of the improv duo Rampleseed, who were #1 on my Top 10 list last year. I also spotlighted Rampleseed a bit in my coverage of the 2008 Twin Cities Improv Festival. I loved both Empty S’s Roofies In The Moccachino and Rampleseed’s Reincarnation – Another Chance At Failure a whole lot, just like I thought I would. (I saw Reincarnation twice – no, that’s not a reincarnation joke.)

Tom Reed’s improv partner Tyler Samples moved to Chicago to try his fortunes in the improv scene there, shortly after last year’s Fringe. Tom, a spoken word as well as improv guy, continued experimenting with all manner of comedy, including a new lounge lizard nightclub act Lounge-asaurus Rex. (Despite the goofiness of the pretext, I was surprised to find Tom has a damn nice voice, too.)

Empty S got in the Fringe through the lottery on the first try. Tom languished near the bottom of the wait list. Michael teamed up with Tom to give him a chance to perform. Ah, community!

Tom’s Potter mash-up is perfect for Mom’s visit, since she’s read all the Rowling books and I have yet to read even one of them. I basically catch up by watching the movies with her once every year or so. So if any of the jokes fly by me, she can catch them and act as my Muggle translator. (Wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever used Muggle in a sentence – and I may have used it wrong. See, I need Mom to come help me out.)

Tom Reed is guaranteed laughs in my book, and in a Fringe of uncertainty, it’s nice to do one or two things to stack the deck. Check out Tom Reed’s YouTube page, you know, just for fun, while we wait for the Fringe to start. It has nothing to do with Harry Potter, but Tom’s a funny guy.

Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at

Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.