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Emerging talents have always had a special place in our heart (everyone has to start somewhere, right?), and independent theater is no exception.

The New York International Fringe Festival is back for its 16th year, showcasing a range of stories from the heartbreakingly poignant to the delightfully kooky. An impressive 200 shows, at only $15 a pop, will play across the city from August 10 to August 26, but here are a few we suggest snagging tickets for early.

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche A 1950s social breakfast takes an unexpected and hilarious turn into a coming-out party as the five characters are locked in the meeting hall during a Cold War attack. Aug. 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17; the Living Theater, 1 E. Eighth St.; thenewcolony.org

Nocturnal A single night in New York City unravels in nine dramatic movements--from the perspectives of a nurse, a waitress, a homeless woman and a police officer--to reveal a shared connection. Aug. 16, 17, 19, 22 and 25; New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher St.; pangaeanyc.org

2 Households, 2 Assholes Gender reversal is nothing new to Shakespearean works, but an entire performance of Romeo and Juliet with only two male actors definitely piques our interest. Aug. 11, 12, 14, 16 and 19; Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St.; two-households.com

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