In recent years, Shadowbox Live has produced an array of award winning original musicals: 2008's Tabloid, the widely popular Back to the Garden from 2009, and last year's groundbreaking Burlesque de Voyage. This spring, Shadowbox Live is proud to announce another original premier, the musical Underland! And for the first time ever, audiences have an opportunity to have a direct hand in taking the production to the next level by supporting Underland on the website, Kickstarter.
Underland, written by Shadowbox Live's Head Writer Jimmy Mak, is set in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in 1967, and features some of the best rock music from the summer of love. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Underland tells the tale of Albert Ice, a Vietnam veteran on a quest to find his daughter.
"Albert Ice is suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, called Shell Shock in the Vietnam era," says Mak, "so he's constantly slipping in and out of reality. This gives us the chance to introduce wonderful characters and moments based on moments in Alice in Wonderland."
To help cover the high costs of producing a brand new work, Shadowbox Live has turned to Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects. Users post their project online, setting an end date and a financial goal. Pledges in any dollar amount can then be made through Kickstarter. According to the website's all-or-nothing funding policy, if a project's goal is met within the time frame, all pledges will be charged and the project is funded. If not, no funding is given.
"If there's one thing we've learned over our years of producing original projects, it's this: it takes a tremendous amount of capital to produce a show of this size," says Shadowbox Live CEO and Executive Producer Stev Guyer. "We've always toed the line in the past, eating the costs upfront and hoping to make it up in the back end."
While the estimated costs of producing Underland are not expected to greatly exceed those of past original productions such as Back to the Garden or the recent dance theater piece, Vampires, Guyer's hope is to generate funding upfront so the company can continue to increase the number of original shows it produces.
"There's the obvious cost of concrete necessities like costumes and sets, but there's also a ridiculous amount of man hours needed," adds Guyer. "Think about the writing and rewriting, rehearsing dance and vocals, training the technical and backstage crews, the dress rehearsals, etc. Every little thing translates into dollars and if we're going to keep producing multiple new works we new help with the dollars."
Shadowbox Live has set a goal of $16,500 to be pledged by Friday, February 1. After the first day online, the Underland project was listed as the most popular Kickstarter in both Columbus and the Theater category at large. With 9 days remaining in the push, a little over $4,000 has been pledged.
"This is everyone's chance to directly influence the success of a Shadowbox Live production," says Guyer. "Just imagine the heights this show can achieve with your help!"
To pledge your support of Underland on Kickstarter.com, please visit www.shadowboxlive.org and click on the Underland link.