Transitioning through important events in the life of the fascinating pop culture curiosity, Tiny Tim, this “memory musical” tells the story of a remarkable man's dedication to the preservation of the songs and performance styles of the past.
Synonymous with the Sixties, Tiny Tim was - as Bing Crosby once put it - "one of the most phenomenal success stories in show business." In 1968, after having cut his teeth performing in lesbian cabarets and dive bars on the Greenwich Village scene and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan, Tiny landed a record contract with Sinatra's Reprise Records as well as a regular appearance on NBC's Laugh-In show. The culmination of this new-found media attention resulted in the album 'God Bless Tiny Tim' and its single 'Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me.'
Suddenly, Tiny Tim was a household name and it didn't take long before the forty-something, falsetto-voiced man, who kept his ukulele in a shopping bag, was playing to huge audiences in the USA and Europe, while his marriage to 'Miss' Vicki was broadcast live on The Tonight Show: an event which 50 million people tuned in to watch.
Though his marriage was short-lived and his popularity began to wane in the Seventies, Tiny forged ahead and vowed to sing his songs "as long as there was someone willing to listen."
Tiny Tim's tale serves as an inspiration to all those who have the determination, the talent, and the strong will to carry on chasing their dreams no matter what others might say. It is the story of a man who "made tulips the national flower," a man who was a master interpreter and student of early American popular song and used his obsession to propel his career, a man who defied the odds, overcame daily discouragement and became the talking point of a whole nation without sacrificing his own integrity.
This is the tale of Tiny Tim.
Based on the acclaimed biography 'Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim' by Justin Martell with Alanna Wray McDonald, 'TINY' is a musical theater production fusing together extracts from Tiny's diary entries with the extraordinary fantasy lens through which he saw life and art. Tiny Tim was a natural-born romantic and it not only shaped his music, it also shaped his life. An extremely versatile singer and style mimic with a complex and fascinating life story, Tiny Tim is the perfect foundation for musical theater, boosted by the absolute love and passion of J. Michael Landis and Jay Wollin, the creators of the show.
Sharing almost 50 years of experience in all aspects of musical theater, J. Michael Landis and Jay Wollin have developed a close creative partnership involving many types of performing arts. They have recently premiered two original musicals - 'The Night Before Christmas' and 'Detention Of The Damned' - and collaborate frequently on a wide variety of film projects. From their independent film experiences to their extensive work as classical musicians, they identified immediately with Tiny Tim and his passion for the art of the past. Landis says, "The ability to venerate Tiny Tim as an artist--in the greater context of a poignant biographical musical--is a dream project worthy of Tiny's own dreams of demonstrating forgotten beauty to a jaded pop culture audience." Wollin adds, "The story is beautiful; the music is beautiful. All I want to do is share that beauty with as many people as possible."
Richard Barone is an acclaimed recording artist, performer, producer, and author. Since pioneering the indie rock scene in Hoboken, NJ as frontman for The Bongos, Barone has produced countless studio recordings and worked with artists in every musical style, including Tiny Tim. Rolling Stone described his first solo album "cool blue halo" as chamber rock, helping give rise to the popular genre. Recent collaborators include Tony Visconti, Beach Boy Al Jardine, Sean Lennon, Dion, John Sebastian, and have included Donovan, Moby, the late Lou Reed, and American folk icon Pete Seeger. He has scored shows and staged all-star concert events at such world-class venues as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. His memoir Frontman: Surviving The Rock Star Myth was published by Hal Leonard Books. Current projects include his second book, and a new album of songs from the early 1960s music scene of Greenwich Village, where Barone lives. He is affiliated with the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University.
Justin Martell is an independent filmmaker and writer. Author of the definitive Tiny Tim biography, Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim, Martell is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject. He has helped to produce and contributed liner notes to five posthumous Tiny Tim releases: I’ve Never Seen A Straight Banana (Collector’s Choice, 2009), Lost & Found, Volume 1 (Secret Seven Records, 2011), In The Next Life: Lost & Found, Volume 3 (Ship To Shore PhonoCo., 2016), and most recently, Tiny Tim's America (Ship To Shore PhonoCo., 2016). He also put out a previously unreleased Tiny Tim track on a limited-edition Edison wax cylinder (My Old Tomato Can: Lost & Found, Volume 2, Ship To Shore PhonoCo., 2013) which Time Magazine dubbed the ‘most retro record release ever.'
Tiny Tim was a musician whose unique persona and breathless high-wire act of different styles and ranges was best experienced 'live in person.' As such, what better way to translate his life and work than into a live theatrical performance? Utilizing classic Tiny Tim tracks from his extensive discography and also featuring brand new music created specifically for this story, 'TINY' is for both lovers of his eccentric--yet brilliant--musical abilities, as well as new fans who simply want to understand why the world went Tiny Tim crazy. We have something utterly magical to share with you all, and you can help us make it a reality.
"I'll keep singing as long as there is someone willing to listen."
We are still listening, Tiny.
We have the actors. We have the crew. We have the script. We have the music. What we need now is the money to pull it all together. We have three workshop performances lined up at the fabulous Lancaster Opera House in Lancaster, NY. With your assistance, we can open the doors to the public and put on a great show for everyone to enjoy!
The show times are as follows:
OPENING NIGHT: our debut performance!
- July 1st, 2016, 7:30pm. The show will be followed by an opening night gala. There will be catered hors d'oeuvres, a book signing of the source biography (Eternal Troubadour), a previously unreleased Tiny Tim album on vinyl, and one of the largest collections of Tiny Tim memorabilia in history.
ENCORE PERFORMANCES: we will have two encore performances.
- July 2nd, 2016 - 2:30pm
- July 2nd, 2016 - 7:30pm
Please note, there will be no gala following the encore performances - this is exclusive to the first performance.
The rewards for helping us are plentiful and mandatory for Tiny Tim fans! We have limited edition LPs (in standard black or super rare colored vinyl!) of Tiny's previously unreleased album 'Tiny Tim's America,' tickets to see 'Tiny,' copies of Tiny Tim's biography 'Eternal Troubadour' signed by the author, custom videos, exciting merchandise, the chance to have a 'trophy' song personalized just for you and performed exclusively by our Tiny Tim, Ricky Needham, and even a super deluxe package where you and a person of your choice will be flown to Lancaster, NY, put up in a hotel for two nights, and given the all-star treatment!
And for those of you unable to make it to any of the performances, we also have a video link option so you can watch the show in the comfort of your own home!
In order to try and make things simpler, we have - apart from the higher levels - separated tickets (which are in short supply) from physical perks such as books and posters. So if you wanted, for example, both a poster and a pair of tickets for one of the performances, you can always donate twice! We have tried to price the tiers so that people can customize their rewards at various price levels.
Lastly, everyone who donates $5 and above will have their name printed in the "thank you" section of the playbill.
**STRETCH GOAL LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL!**
To celebrate the fact that after reaching our original goal of $7500 we very quickly reached our first stretch goal of $8000 - and to help us reach our next stretch goal of $8500, of course - we have decided to introduce a brand new reward for die-hard 'TINY' fans: a ukulele signed by the cast & creative team of 'TINY' and a limited edition "psychedelic" poster for 'TINY,' only available exclusively as a combo on this Kickstarter campaign! This combo is only available to the first ten people who pledge on this tier!
The reward tier for this ltd edition combo is $150, which also includes: free shipping within the domestic U.S., the Tiny Tim 'President & First Lady' BUTTON, the PERSONALIZED AUDIO GREETING FROM TINY TIM, the EXCLUSIVE VIRTUAL TICKET to watch the show at home, and YOUR NAME will be printed in the playbill available to all those who attend the performance (and we'll throw in a copy of the PLAYBILL too)! A perfect opportunity for those of you who want to support our effort to get the story of Tiny Tim to the stage and also own a ukulele, just like Tiny did!
Meet the cast!
Ricky Needham is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State where he received a degree in Theatre Arts. His recent credits include 420: The Musical (Jerry), Lend Me A Tenor (Bellhop), and Monty Python’s Spamalot (Herbert/Historian). Past credits include Footloose the Musical (Ren), Spring Awakening (Ernst), The Night Before Christmas (Dasher) as well as the premiere of the high school zombie musical Detention of the Damned (Aiden). He has been a writing student with The Second City based in Chicago and currently writes for the Buffalo-based sketch group Zilch. Ricky is the drama director for the Lancaster Youth Bureau’s Performance Academy youth program.
Jeremy Kreuzer is a recent graduate from Pace University, where he received a B.A. in Acting. His roles there included Lane in The Importance of Being Earnest, Adam in As You Like It, and Jimmy Jack in Translations. He spent the Fall 2015 season touring the United States with Chamber Theatre Productions’ Encore!! He most recently starred as Eugene in Biloxi Blues at Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre.
Chrissy Vogric holds a Bachelor of Music from NYU Steinhardt. During her time in Manhattan, she performed in several workshops, readings, and concerts, including the world premiere of Hit List at 54 Below, starring Jeremy Jordan and other original cast members of NBC’s Smash. Chrissy also originated the role of Priscilla in Samsel and Anderson’s Llamaze 101. While at NYU she had the opportunity to perform in Fiorello! (Striker) and Carousel (Julie Jordan) at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts and Fredrick Loewe Theater, respectively. Favorite regional credits include My Fair Lady (Eliza Doolittle), Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Les Miserables (Fantine), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Narrator).
Bryan made his NYC theatre debut in April 2014 in Click Chamber, as part of the first annual F-OFF Festival. Locally, Bryan has acted with the Irish Classical Theatre (The Lonesome West), Theatre of Youth (Number the Stars, Honus & Me, The Phantom Tollbooth), Theatre Jugend (Cannibal! The Musical, Orgazmo!) and Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre (Biloxi Blues), among others. Bryan’s on-camera credits include Failed First Dates, Trew Calling, Jeffrey Kills a Guy, Project Nomadic, Scope of Practice, as well as various local commercials. A graduate of the University at Buffalo's Department of Theatre & Dance, Bryan was also a producer and performer in the full-length sketch comedy show The Farce Awakens in December 2015 with the Buffalo Sketch Comedy troupe, of which Bryan is also a member.
Marisa Caruso is a graduate of the SUNY Fredonia Department of Theater and Dance. Recent roles include Maria in Lend Me a Tenor with Lancaster Opera House, Sylvia in Sylvia with Buffalo Laboratory Theater and Daughter in A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney with Road Less Traveled Productions. She has also performed with Theater of Youth, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and multiple improv comedy companies in the WNY region.
Arlynn has previously worked with them on Detention of the Damned as Tiffany Glitters, and also performed there in Legally Blonde as Elle Woods. She has worked extensively with the local film community, as well. Her on-camera credits most notoriously include originating the role of Agnes in the 48-Hour Film Festival production of Agnes. A graduate of SUNY Buffalo State, Arlynn holds two Bachelor’s in Theater and Music (Vocal Performance).
Jordan Rosas recently finished a run of Biloxi Blues at Desiderio’s Dinner theater, where he played the role of Joseph Wykowski. A theatre student at the University at Buffalo, he has joined the casts of The Hot l Baltimore (Paul Granger III) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander), along with student productions of Almost, Maine and Land of the Dead. He maintains an active presence in film as well, acting in multiple student films at UB, RIT, and Ithaca College, along with feature films such as S.T.A.R., Mercy, The Rainbow Bridge Motel, and the upcoming Buffalo music drama Good Times Never Come.
Karen Harty has just graduated from Niagara University with her B.F.A in Theatre Performance and minors in French and Fine Arts (concentrating in costuming). This is her first venture into the professional community in Buffalo and she is so happy to be starting at the Lancaster Opera House. Some Niagara University credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan (Duchess of Berwick), 9 to 5 (Roz Keith), the world premiere of CyranA (Raguena), William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors (Angela), and The Learned Ladies (Belise). In her senior year at NU, she was the Artistic Director of Extremities, by William Mastrosimone, which was an entirely student-run production. In the summer of 2015, she studied abroad in London, where she performed the role of Malvolio in the Live Literature Company’s production of Twelfth Night.
Nathan's credits include Detention of the Damned (Joseph) and Spamalot (Sir Robin), both with Lancaster Opera House, Legally Blonde (Emmett Forrest) with Rocking Horse Productions, My Favorite Year (Benjy Stone) with NRTG, Lion in Winter (John) with Irish Classical Theater, Twelfth Night (Sir Toby) with Live Literature Company in London, England, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Snoopy) with Coop’s Spotlight Productions, Hello Dolly (Barnaby Tucker) with Lockport Palace Theater, and Ghost of Fort Niagara (Lucien Dusault) with Alleyway Theater. BFA Theatre Performance/BA English, Niagara University.
So... where's your money going?
As you can see from the following budget breakdown, staging a whole new musical on stage with three performances planned is no easy (or cheap) excursion!
- $1500 for our talented cast of professional non-union actors.
- $1200 for our hard-working crew
- $660 for materials including costumes, props, makeup and stage design
- $341 for marketing which includes the design and maintenance of the TINY official website and also targeted social media marketing
- $3799 for our operations which includes Kickstarter fees, credit card fees, the manufacture of rewards and their subsequent shipping fees
Now that we're 100% funded, we have stretch goals!
If we make it to $8000 we can add more cameras to our professionally shot HD video performance of the show (viewable for those of you who choose an online ticket reward to watch the show at home) and include a professional audio recording!
If we make it to $8500 then we can add live orchestral elements to the theater pit such as a string section and piano!
Risks and challenges
It may seem obvious to say it, but the biggest challenge we're facing is actually raising the money we need in order to fulfil our promises to the Tiny Tim fans who want to see us succeed. That's why we need you!
With your help, we can once again bring Tiny's genius to the stage where it belongs.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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