All For A Song - Myra Taylor The Musical
All For A Song - Myra Taylor The Musical
Musical on the life of Kansas City Jazz legend Myra Taylor, intro by Nichelle Nichols - demo songs package for a workshop production.
Musical on the life of Kansas City Jazz legend Myra Taylor, intro by Nichelle Nichols - demo songs package for a workshop production. Read more
About this project
Thank you for your support and interest in Myra Taylor's remarkable story. Please visit the website at www.allforasong-myrataylor.net
ALL FOR A SONG is a labor of love - a musical play based on the inspiring true life story of Kansas City Jazz legend Myra Taylor. This inspirational story of Myra’s life is about more than just her. It’s about a great American City - Kansas City; its jazz, its swing, its jump and its people. Mostly, it’s about Myra’s stamina, determination, winning against all odds and enduring to the final victory.
The "All For A Song" Story
The play opens as Myra is nearing her eighties, struggling to survive by cleaning floors, her past career forgotten, her money gone. Then, through a contemporary musical score and a bit of theatrical magic, beginning with a song that moves us back in time through the styles of the decades, we find ourselves back in the 1940's with Myra, now young, vivacious and beautiful as she embarks on her life-long journey, joining the USO Black Entertainers Unit during WWII, with Eubie Blake, its music director. The group toured army bases and hospitals across the country. Though having to deal with segregation and racism at almost every turn, the show went on.
We follow Myra overseas to her nightclub in Germany on the banks of the Rhine and her adventure of world tours, her dreams, her music, her loves and broken romances – she had many men in her long life, but love never stayed. Like many artists of her time, she lost the rights to her own songs and her business and romantic misadventures cost her dearly. Her career slipped away. Myra found herself in her late seventies, alone, on Social Security, and scrubbing floors to make ends meet. A friend convinces her to return home to the city that loves its jazz, where she reclaims her life, fighting for the rights to her music, and singing once again, recovering a new career, one song at a time, achieving a moment of glory when, at eighty four years old, she stars as a headline performer for the 2001 Kansas City Jazz and Blues Festival.
We are looking for $14,000 to complete a presentation package to be taken to theatrical producers and regional professional theatres to produce a laboratory/or workshop presentation, with the intent to shape the show for a full-scale major touring or national stage production.
Demos of a minimum of five original songs will be recorded with professional singers to be incorporated in the show with Myra's original songs. The script for All For A Song is still in progress. New and important details of Myra’s life have recently come to light. They need to be researched and incorporated into the show. Songs have to be recorded. Five have already been finished, but will be worked with additional changes.
The funds will be used for recording sessions for the demo songs, and for additional research for the script, including travel to meet with former friends and associates of Myra so we can fill in some of the missing links to earlier parts of her life and revise the play, create the promotional art and support material, provide for reward delivery and for some legal services.
Nichelle Nichols is an American Icon and a legend. She knows something about challenges and breaking barriers as Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, on television and six Star Trek feature films, but less known about Nichelle is her singing. Before turning to acting Nichelle toured with both Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Nichelle Nichols is acting as Presenter of the All For a Song Myra Taylor The Musical workshop production. Ms Nichols is graciously lending her goodwill support to this project and is not receiving any compensation for this Kickstarter effort.
Original music for All For A Song is being composed by noted Hollywood composer and orchestrator, Conrad Pope. Conrad has recently composed the film score for My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh.Conrad has composed and orchestrated for many of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster films, including: Life of Pi, Argo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Star Wars: Episode I, II, III, and Seabiscuit. All For A Song will be Conrad’s first foray into musical theatre.
Alessandro de Gaetano
The book and lyrics are written by Alessandro de Gaetano, a long-time personal friend and colleague of Myra Taylor. Alessandro is an independent filmmaker whose films include the cult comedy hit Butch Camp starring Judy Tenuta, MetalBeast starring Barry Bostwick and Kim Delaney, and the recent teen horror film Neowolf from Lionsgate. It was Alessandro’s films which featured Myra in supporting roles in the 1980’s which included Scoring and Small Towns Are Murder.
Myra Taylor's Biography
Myra Taylor was an American jazz singer and songwriter. She began performing as a teenager and continued performing into her nineties. Born Myra Jardine Taylor in Bonner Springs, Kansas, her family moved to Kansas City, when she was a child. When she was still underage she would sneak into nightclubs through a rear window and eventually attracted attention singing.
In the 1930s, she toured the Midwest with Clarence Love's band. She moved to Chicago in 1937 and worked with Warren “Baby” Dodds, Lonnie Johnson, Roy Eldridge and Lil Hardin Armstrong. She returned to Kansas City in 1940 as the featured singer for Harlan Leonard and His Rockets. Myra first recorded I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire with the band on RCA's Bluebird Records label. After a falling out with Leonard, Myra Taylor joined Eubie Blake's band for USO tour during WWII, then returned to Kansas City to sing with Jimmy Keith. In 1946, she had a hit with Spider and the Fly on Mercury Records. She began touring in Europe in the 1960's, and in 1965 opened her own club in Frankfurt, Germany named Down by the Riverside.
Myra Taylor recorded her last released album My Night To Dream, and appeared for two nights in a live perfomance at the Gardenia Room in Hollywood in 2002. Her performance was recorded for an album, but was never released and never heard beyond the live audience. Myra Taylor's final live performance was July 24, 2011 with the Wild Women of Kansas City at Jardine's Nightclub in Kansas City. She died on December 9th, 2011.
Laboratory Workshop Production
The intent of the project is to create a presentation and demo songs to take the show to a regional theater for a workshop production to shape the show before offering for a major market theatrical and or touring production. The project has received keen interest from theaters located in Kansas City. It is expected due to Myra's history and connection to her hometown that the production which is the goal of this Kickstarter project will be mounted there.
The musical will include a mix of original songs by the creators and Myra Taylor's songs, though which ones have not yet been determined. Be aware that the music you're hearing in the video is not the music of the songs to be recorded and Myra's originals for the show may have their own flavor fittng the story.
We will be offering a collection of downloads and CDs of original songs recorded for the presentation demos, plus Myra's original hits, plus an exclusive CD of Myra's last released album with special permission. Myra wrote and recorded a number of songs in the 1940s. She continued to write songs later in her life, some were recorded, some she only sang in live performance. Myra recorded a last live appearance at Hollywood's Gardenia Room we intended to release as an album. We will include some of her unreleased songs as rewards for this project. Some of the funds from this project may be used for clearances for the album to be released as a bonus project reward.
As the recording of the presentation original songs is dependent on Conrad Pope's schedule we expect the recording to complete by the end of November, though may be a bit later. For the goal of a workshop production we've set a time of early next year, but could be a few months later depending on theater company seasons, but rewards which are not dependent on the production (ie: name in program, memory book, tickets, etc.) will be delivered when they are available. Personal meetings rewards will be subject to scheduling availability.
Risks and challenges
As to some of the risks and challenges involved with this project. Time availabilty of individuals involved in the project present some challenge, but can be met. We have an intent to bring in significant talent to record the demos, but timing and travel may be a matter of scheduling. Choosing a theater to ultimately work with is not expected to be a challenge, but an opportunity as we expect to have a choice, though offering tickets to a performance when we haven't settled on a venue presents some challenge in offering rewards. We expect the theater chosen to likely be in Kansas City or the midwest, though possibly Southern California, with an arrangement for a KC performance, but not yet selected.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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