I started this blog when we first got the show running a couple years back and said I wanted to use it to take good and honest look at the work that getting a musical done in NYC takes... I haven't posted in a while and there are a lot more candid things I need to say right now. So if you'll indulge me for a moment (or more), this is going to be a more vulnerable read. Here goes!
A few days ago I did something I haven't done in a while and really needed to.... I had a ridiculously good cry. I mean, I cry more than your average human I'm pretty sure. Ask Caleb, he'll tell you and give a good eye roll while he does! But I had some time to myself and went to my favorite meditative place (the shower...don't judge) and an enormous wave of overwhelming emotion, mixed with exhaustion, rushed over with me and I cried my eyes out for quite a while and it felt really good. Such a release. This past year nearly did me in....even almost did in the show... And it felt nice for a moment to not have to put a brave face forward, to not have anything except the feelings to focus on and what we've come through and accomplished under what has seemed at times like insurmountable odds. The odds are still pretty insane, but we've gotten through some legitimate crazy, crazy.......crazy....stuff. Roll the flashback....
We got the show accepted, as most of you know, to a new works series about 2 years ago on the upper west side. It played sold out shows to really receptive and excited audiences and we got our footing in the community from that experience. It was intoxicating to say the least. I mean... hello, two kids from nowheresville Idaho putting up even a basic presentation of their original musical in NYC was pretty cool. And the positive (for the most part) response from the sold out crowds was pretty cool too. We had a lot of hope for the future and that was multiplied by an investor approaching us with a huge offer to help us out and get the show on it's feet and off the ground.
I won't go into too much detail on this.... Suffice to say that the two of us got drug through the most insane and unimaginable situation either of us have ever faced professionally and even personally to a degree. We were offered a LOT of our dreams coming to fruition and promised a lot of amazing opportunities, without anything from us in return except to get the product developed. It was everything we could have hoped for on paper. For a year though, we were strung along, promised things and of course they just didn't happen. We lost jobs, people were alienated and even some professional relationships were damaged because of the entire situation. We went from having our ultimate goals right within reach to absolutely square one. It was devastating to say the least. Of course, reading this you think a lot of yeah, yeah.... Incredibly sad situation with all the wars, death, social disparity and injustice out there etc etc etc.....silly kids.... But this has been our ultimate dream. It hurt and it took a very long time to bounce back. Lots of tears, anger, fighting and considering giving up. We obviously had not been at this process for very long, but what we had just experienced was so overwhelming that the prospect of ever having to do it again was almost unbearable.
But then things started happening....beyond our control really and how they have seemed to happen. New people stepped into our world and offered ideas, offered help and suggestions and suddenly there were new opportunities. New, good people surrounding us as well as people who had been there for quite a while cheering us on and encouraging us to not give up and move forward... It sounds kind of like a song we recently added that people seem to love.... Which was another benefit. We took the time and re-wrote a lot. Re-worked a lot on the piece and it yielded some beautiful things. And we implemented them and suddenly a new festival opened it's doors to us without us really even pushing too hard for it.... Literally someone reached out and there it was. So once more the universe gave us a nudge and we walked through the open door even though we were still a bit terrified to do just that. And once more the people came. The support increased and we found ourselves with even more support from even more places and diverse people. And it was overwhelming. And we were grateful beyond what we could put into words. I still personally can't.
But now here we are and faced with more reality and the road ahead that moves us forward. And here is where we need more support now more than ever. Here is what our world looks like as we chase this show and our dreams... At least from my personal perspective...
I get up at 4:30 am to go bar tend/barista in Soho. It's really early....really really early. Neither Caleb and I are what you would call 'trust fund babies'. We were not handed life and contacts and opportunity on a platter like a LOT of Broadway success stories are. To be able to pursue this, I have to have a day job that pays the rent and bills and allows me to live here just to even consider these possibilities. It's exhausting to say the least... I work 40 hours and all that money goes to just general life. NYC is not cheap. So pursuing the show right now is almost like an added full time job that doesn't pay! Which means funding it ourselves is pretty much out of the question!
Now as to the show, we are new writers in town. We don't have a famous book or famous movie or a jukebox soundtrack to offer to producers. We don't have rich relatives funding our ventures or lives or have a lot of inside connections like so many do who make it here. We have done everything so far by either sheer luck, coincidence or insanely hard work. And here's what insanely hard work looks like for this show....
To get people to pay attention to us and consider funding our work, we have to show it to them in a specific kind of way. That takes money. A lot of it. It takes getting the right people on our team to help us get the right people in the show in the leads, to get the right people interested in directing, to get the right people interested in just SEEING the product in a closed invite only environment then maybe just MAYBE someone will take a chance and give us the backing and support we desperately need. It doesn't happen just because your product is 'good' and ours is far from perfect by any means and needs professional development. It's definitely good and there is potential AND there is interest BUT these are the big dogs we are playing with at this point. They demand a certain amount of professionalism and dues put in to even consider you as a potential product to invest in. And to get a Broadway show on it's feet, this is not chump change we are looking at... These things cost millions and millions. That is the daunting task we are facing. It is not impossible, but it is kind of scary! We need help!
So, for anyone out there who has been watching us...or been excited about our work, we need you right now. If you have ever cheered for the underdog (which is kind of the whole subtext of our show) or have ever been passionate about making art that can make a difference, this is your chance to help us do just that. We are passionate about this show that brings together a diverse look and sound that Broadway is just starting to catch on to (although our 'sound' is quite classic in nature, it's gone a bit out of style over the past few years unfortunately and we want it back as do many!). We want to change hearts and impact minds and make people think and feel and have hope that maybe they too can dream big dreams and have passion and purpose and chase what seems impossible and maybe make things happen because of that. We want to start conversations, about social justice, about what art can do, about intelligent and beautiful music that can leave you moved and wanting to hear it over and over again, not just within the context of a show but within the context of life in general. We want people to want to connect with our songs and our characters and have them want to be better because of them and share them. We want to do good in the world with the thing we know we are best at. That's why we keep soldiering on and chasing this as impossible as it may seem. And as two kids from small town Idaho who really have no name and nothing but the support we receive, we need help to do that. If you have ever wanted to be part of making the dreams of two shy, awkward kids come true, we need you. Share our page, share our videos, if you are one of those people who know someone who knows someone share with them especially! We need the good word of mouth to continue and it takes a village for something like this.
We are launching an indiegogo campaign that will run all this next month. We need funds to do the things I mentioned and we don't have them on our own. Please consider a donation or sending the campaign along to others who may be able to help us. Every bit helps. Help us make meaningful, heartfelt and important musical theatre from new artists with diverse performers a reality. And not only that....doing this for a living would be the end all be all of amazingly cool things and giving hundreds and even thousands a chance over it's hopeful longevity to do the same would be pretty cool. I'm sure when they wrote 'Oklahoma' they had no clue how many kids and adults would make a paycheck with that show someday or even sing those songs for the years they've been sung. Help us leave that kind of legacy.
Thank you for every ounce of support we've received over the years. We've tried to let you all into our lives and this process as best we can even if it means we fail in a very public way. But if you've ever wanted something this bad, so badly it consumes most of your waking mind and any extra time you have, you know that having support from the ground up is necessary and so appreciated. We could not do it without all of you who have been watching us and cheering for us and supporting in whatever way you can. We have quite a ways to go still... But these two kids would be ecstatic to know how far we've come already! ;)