Theatre in an Animal Shelter? … Generosity and Creativity

Why in the world would anyone want to do a play reading in an animal shelter? Why violate the advice given by sage vaudevillians in the days of old: never act with children or animals. Because THE PET PLAY, my latest comedy about obsessive pet owners, and the search for unconditional love, features pets. And ┬áthis a great thematic fit with one of the finest animal shelters in the country: SAVE – A Friend to Homeless Animals (savehomelessanimals.org).

And because we non-profits have to start thinking outside the box (what box? you might be thinking): the “we-are-struggling-and-can’t-afford-to-do-anything-generous-for-another-organization” box. There are a lot of things we can offer each other: entertainment, art, shared audience, space, talent, etc. SAVE is offering a space for this reading of selected scenes, and publicity, and they have a wide audience that has never heard of Dramatic Question Theatre (www.TheDQT.org). And I have a play that touches on a subject near and dear to SAVE’s heart, and the willingness to put together this unique fundraising event to help support SAVE and the production of the play in New York in early 2018. SAVE volunteers have been super generous with their time, help, and guidance. And I have been super creative with putting together this evening of entertainment, and snacks, followed by fireworks. Ok – I don’t get credit for the fireworks, Montgomery Township does.

Come support this endeavor and be part of the paradigm shift!

Details:

Thursday June 29, 2017 – tour of SAVE at 5:30 PM, reading doors open at 6:00PM, play reading of selected scenes followed by refreshments, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, fireworks (weather permitting) at approximately 9:15 PM. Tickets $20 on line, $25 at the door, donations gratefully accepted and shared between SAVE and DQT.

Buy tickets or make a donation here.

Thank you!

TDF – Performeteria!

“Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty” – 10 minutes of song and scene, representing Dramatic Question Theatre! At the Baruch Performing Arts Center – wow! what a PAC!

I am honored that DQT has selected my show to represent the theatre company in the TDF Performeteria event on March 24, 2017. Several Off Off Broadway Theatre companies will also be presenting 10 minutes of works. Everything from comedic monologs in sign language to our musical comedy about illegal immigration and more! #Performeteria

The audience enters at specific times, and gets a guided tour of the offerings. The earlier you enter, the more you can see. Tickets are $9

Letters of Intent and other Grant applications

Why is it so hard to send out Letters of Intent (LOI) and grant applications? Why do I check the directions a hundred times, and review the letter 80 times before I send it out? Why does it take 2 hours, when I think it should only take 15 minutes?

Fear.

That’s the short answer. I am afraid of being ruled out for one little mistake. I’m afraid the recipient will flinch because the musical has some political content. I’m afraid my wording is confusing. Afraid I am too detailed, not detailed enough, boring, too inflamatory…you name it. I’m even afraid of using a comma incorrectly. Oy.

So I printed out the two letters of intent I am working on (one grantor doesn’t even give me instructions which is super-fear producing), and I read parts aloud at the last DQT meeting. My fellow playwrights listened to my spiel about the NYMF Developmental Reading Series, and the description of my show, and why this was an important step for me. Then we dove in and read what I actually wrote – which needless to say was somewhat scattered, and vague. So then they told me how I should write what I said before, because it was better, and clearer. They also helped me figure out what parts to cut out entirely.

The lesson learned – read this sort of stuff to other people who “get” what you are aiming for, but don’t know your project perfectly. Pick people who like you and are generous of heart – not bitter negative people who hate everything. Get their feedback. See what parts of your project generate smiles, eye twinkles, laughter. Put that in the LOIs and grant applications.

Ok – enough procrastinating for me. Time to do another LOI that will hopefully entice the foundation to ask for a full application.

What is your experience in applying for grants like?Main Entrance

Anonymous Matching Donor!!

OMG! OMG! OMG!
A good friend of mine is taking a big leap of faith in me and the developmental reading of “Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty” at the NYMF – and has promised to match all new donations, up to $1,000!! I can’t believe it!! This is awesome!! Why is it awesome you may ask? Why so many exclamation points so far?

This is why it is AWESOME!:

Many generous friends and family have already donated and gotten me close to the $1,000 mark. I just did the budget estimate for the developmental reading series and it is close to $12,000 if we use all union actors (I really do believe in equal pay for equal work, and want to give talented non-union actors what they deserve. I also want to give non-talented actors what they deserve but that’s another story for another post). The reading will have a small pit band providing a fuller version of the music, plus all the actors at music stands, doing the whole script, singing and acting. No costumes, no choreography, no special effects. Just people. Like the “radio version” of the musical. This is a great step in a musical’s development – you see if the skeleton of the piece, the words and the music and the story, all hang together. If they do, then you can start to add all the beautiful ornamentation. If not, then you fix it.

Back to AWESOME – if I get new donations, this amazing anonymous donor will match it all up to $1,000. Those of you skilled in math will realize the total at the end of this will $3,000 which is about 25% of the budget for the reading. Yeah!! This could be great!

So please join the Awesomeness-fest and double your contribution! I am so grateful to all of you who are necessary pieces in this vast puzzle!

Donation link (thank you thank you thank you!)

And of course, I must leave you with a song. This is musical theatre after all.

“Fortune Favors the Brave” sung by Manuel early in the show. And indeed – fortune does favor the brave, so go out there and be brave! Support stuff you care about!

The Great Grant Rush

I’ve applied for a $5,000 design enhancement grant for my solo show, so that I can work with awesome designers, and they will have fun designing the set and lights to communicate the sterility of the way old people will be dealt with in the future. My solo show starts in 2059, in a futuristic hospice, as one old lady manages to tell her daughter one last story before she dies. The world has changed significantly between now and then, and our worship of youth, and denial of aging have grown tremendously – causing extreme separation between generations. It would be cool to get the grant and be able to communicate “we’re not in 2014 anymore” immediately through the design, right as folks take their seats and thumb through the program. Special thanks to my theatre company wwwthedqt.org for making this a remote possibility.

The statistics of grants are not in my favor. I have to probably apply for about $100,000 worth of grant possibilities to land $2 – $5K. So I’ve got a lot of grant application writing to do!

What has been your grant application experience? Is it worth it? Is it a closed loop of the same-old same-old who always get the grants, and newcomers don’t? What do you think?