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Neil Patrick Harris went to a Toronto Fringe play because Twitter told him to

Neil Patrick Harris went to a Toronto Fringe play because Twitter told him to
Neil Patrick Harris and the cast and crew of Bright Lights. Photo courtesy of Kat Sandler

There are already lots of good reasons to attend indie theatre in Toronto, but here’s another: Neil Patrick Harris might be in the audience somewhere, hiding under his newsboy cap. That was the case on Saturday night at the Tarragon Theatre, where the How I Met Your Mother actor was quietly ensconced in the middle of the theatre during an 11:30 p.m. showing of the Toronto Fringe Festival play Bright Lights—a one-act comedy about the members of an alien-abduction support group.

NPH—whose latest movie, Downsizing, is filming here—learned about the play on Twitter, after putting out a call for entertainment suggestions. Kat Sandler, the play’s writer and director, tweeted at Harris with an invite, and recruited some friends to do the same. “Within 20 minutes he had direct messaged me about coming to the show,” she said. “It was totally sold out. We had to Mission: Impossible him into the theatre.” Harris was ushered in through the back door a few minutes before the start of the show. His appearance didn’t create a noticeable stir, and many audience members didn’t even know he was in the house. Afterward, with the audience gone, he posed for a picture with the cast, then went for drinks with Sandler at Bar Begonia. (Earlier that night, he ate at Bar Raval.)

“I just had to prevent myself from fangirling really hard all weekend,” Sandler said. “I’ve never hung out with someone like that. He was just so lovely.” The following day, Sandler went with Harris to another Fringe show, True Blue. Harris went to a third show, Romeo and Juliet Chainsaw Massacre, on his own.

The Fringe Festival ended on Sunday, but Bright Lights will be playing again at Best of Fringe, on August 5, 6 and 7. Tickets are on sale now.

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