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A new play by Howard L. Craft, starring singer Yolanda Rabun, that brings Nina Simone to the stage to tell her story, her way.
A new play by Howard L. Craft, starring singer Yolanda Rabun, that brings Nina Simone to the stage to tell her story, her way.
75 backers pledged $6,092 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$6,092

75

A letter from the playwright

Dear supporter,

In the summer of 2012, I was commissioned by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at UNC-Chapel Hill to write a short play to accompany an art exhibit about Nina Simone. As I wrote, the story grew, until the play became Feelin' Free: a full-length, one-woman show starring jazz singer Yolanda Rabun.

Yolanda Rabun as Nina Simone (Photo: { Maritza } Photography)
Yolanda Rabun as Nina Simone (Photo: { Maritza } Photography)

We performed the show twice during the exhibit, and we sold out both performances to the point that we had to turn people away. The response was incredible! People traveled from as far away as Philadelphia just to see the play. Everyone who attended told us that they loved the show, that we have to perform it again, that we have to take this show on tour.

So that's what we're going to do. We're going to raise $6,000 to fully-produce Feelin' Free and take it on tour. This means paying our actress and musicians, plus the stage managers and run crew. It means hiring costume, set, sound and lighting designers to create the show. It means marketing materials and videography.

We will present a free showcase of Feelin' Free on Monday, December 3 in the Kenan Theater on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. This will be our opportunity to share the play with our supporters, and also to invite commercial producers, festival curators and artistic directors from across the country to begin building the tour.

Please donate to this project and help us bring Nina Simone's story to the stage.

Thank you,

Howard L. Craft
Playwright

Risks and challenges

Producing a play is a very challenging endeavor. Particularly for a collaborative art like theater, it involves a lot of people putting in time, effort and creativity to produce something truly special. It is a major challenge to engage their time, to coordinate their efforts, to focus their creativity, and to balance the visions of all artists involved to bring the best story to the stage.

An initial challenge has already been accomplished: the play has been written. It will likely grow and change over the next month, but the basis is there and it looks great. The next challenges are to design the world of the play (the set, costumes, lights, sound, and projections), to rehearse with our actress and musicians, and to ensure that we publicize effectively to make sure that we have a full and supportive audience who will help us then launch our national tour.

And as with any piece of art, there are risks involved. We are confident in the quality of this script and the talent of the artists involved, but what will the audience think? Will we raise sufficient funds to put this play together? Will we then be able to secure tour venues and take the show on the road? Nothing is guaranteed, but we have a committed, professional team supporting this project and are confident that we are creating something new, exciting, and powerful. We look forward to sharing it with you.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A personal thank you signed by Yolanda Rabun and playwright Howard Craft.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The above, plus two VIP reserved seats to the December 3, 2012 showcase.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All of the above, plus an invitation to an exclusive reception following the December 3, 2012 showcase.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above, plus a photograph from the show signed by the artistic team.

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    7 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above, plus a signed CD of Yolanda Rabun's music.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the above, plus dinner with the artistic team at a local restaurant.

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Funding period

- (27 days)