Some of the reactions to SURVIVING LOVE at the Midtown Festival
Hey, there, backers! We haven't forgotten you.
The performances of Surviving Love in New York at the Midtown International Theatre Festival were quite an adventure! Thanks to your support, we were able to buy a few more hours of extra rehearsal time, which turned out to be essential, especially after the combination of jetlag and heatwave left us rather short-handed in our stage crew. Fortunately, Thomas Meikl of the Open Acting Academy was in NY on vacation (and to see the show), and he very graciously filled in for the missing persons. Thank you, Tom - you were fantastic!
A little background on festival performances: we had just one rehearsal on the actual stage (4 and 1/2 hours total, but thanks to our backers, 6 and 1/2 hours). We had 15 minutes to set up the show before starting, and 15 minutes to strike the set after the show ended - for each performance. The Venue Manager for the Main Stage Theatre, Amanda Woodward, was a model of good-natured calm, and her friendly, competent manner really helped us through.
We were lucky enough to engage a spectacular pianist, Timothy Long, who proved himself very capable of taking on the additional challenge of sharing the narrative - in fact, his wry delivery got many of the biggest laughs of the evening! It was a pleasure working with him, and yes, you helped us secure his engagement for our performances.
Here is a link to theatre blogger Adam Rothenberg's impressions of the opening night performance:
And from New York based composer and conductor Victoria Bond:
Surviving Love is an effective piece of theater weaving cabaret songs into the story of a young man’s coming of age in New York City. Robert Chionis is riveting as the protagonist who comes to the city and finds friendship, love and loss. His skills as singer and actor draw us into his journey, accompanying him on the dizzying highs and the heart-wrenching lows of his trip. He gave familiar songs a new depth and introduced me to many unfamiliar and very worthwhile songs, all of which were incredibly appropriate to the story line.
Garnett Bruce, Principal Stage Director and Artistic Advisor of Opera Omaha (and super-duper Kickstart backer!):
Robert Chionis is witness to a personal journey steeped in allegory framing the poignant ballads of Brian Lasser (among others). Performed with earnest wit and commitment by Chionis and his pianist/narrative foil Tim Long, the success of "Surviving Love" is that it was able to exist at all. The past, present and future of survivors are courageous stories that need to be told, sung, and celebrated, and Chionis does all of the above !
And last but not least, acclaimed Broadway star and New York cabaret diva Karen Mason came to our final performance on Sunday afternoon (she is flanked by me and producer Daniel Wolfsbauer in the photo). She found these words to express her reaction to the show:
[...] Thank you also for using Brian's songs. He was a very special talent. And it was really mind opening to hear his songs sung by you. Isn't that amazing? How the same words become something different in someone else's mouth? There were certain phrases I only understood through my experiences... and here I am hearing I MADE A NEW FRIEND through another experience. It was very powerful. I love how you wove the songs through your story... how the stories became fuller through the songs. It made me cry a few times, and you do inspire me.
Watching you yesterday, I loved how personal and clear the story was.... and that you just got up and did it. No pretension.... just honesty! You had a story to tell and you told it. In a very clear, joyous, painful way. Unafraid of telling the warts in the story. God, Robert, I was so touched by your honesty. So thank you for making me think. And Inspiring me. And for giving new life to some Brian Lasser songs.
So once again, thanks to all our backers, and anybody else who might be reading this. It was a wild, white-knuckle ride of a theatre experience, and we couldn't have done it without your interest and involvement.
I will be contacting all the backers who have premiums coming. The DVDs and cards for backers in the US will be posted this week, as soon as I get the mailing addresses I don't already have. For my backers in Europe, the DVDs and cards will be posted in early September. Those of you in for a souvenir booklet, we will begin putting the booklet together in September and you will be updated as that progresses. Thanks again! Robert
pledged of $3,000 goal
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May 31, 2011 - Jul 20, 2011
Pledge $10 or more
An autographed postcard from the New York production will be sent to you, and you will have access to all project updates.
Pledge $25 or more
DVD of the November, 2009 performance of SURVIVING LOVE at the Blackbox Theater in Vienna & access to all project updates. (includes shipping)
Pledge $50 or more
Souvenir Booklet for the New York production, with photos of rehearsals and the cast & team in New York. This booklet will be created exclusively for our backers after the conclusion of our run, and shipped to you later in the summer (Shipping is included, of course)
Pledge $100 or more
Everything above, plus your name listed in the souvenir book.
Pledge $500 or more
Everything above, plus two tickets to our opening night and the following reception.