THE IT GETS BETTER PROJECT™ – FOR THE STAGE?
It Gets Better will bring the experience and message of the online It Gets Better Project™ to new communities and audiences by blending music, theater, and multimedia into a new work for the stage. At each stop of the show’s U.S. national tour (with a focus on communities where the It Gets Better message is most needed), performances will be presented in tandem with a weeklong series of community outreach activities to strengthen local LGBT support networks.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION?
The It Gets Better Project™ began in September 2010 when syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry Miller in response to a number of LGBT youth taking their own lives. They wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to give young people hope for future happiness. Less than 18 months later, the project has turned into a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 30,000 user-created videos viewed more than 40 million times.
The inspiration for the new live stage work, It Gets Better, began with an It Gets Better Project™ video submission by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA). On October 24, 2010 a large group of chorus members gathered with their friends and family at Immanuel Presbyterian Church to record a live version of Cyndi Lauper’s song True Colors:
No words were needed to feel the powerful message of love, unity, and hope conveyed by this musical performance. The response from around the world was incredible (including around 700,000 views to date) – prompting the Chorus leadership to reach out to folks at the It Gets Better Project™ to explore more options for bringing together the work of our organizations.
WHO ARE THE CREATIVE FORCES BEHIND THE PROJECT?
It Gets Better will be developed collaboratively by a creative team led for the Chorus by Liesel Reinhart of Speak Theater Arts (STA). In 2009, GMCLA collaborated with STA and the Tectonic Theater Company for an imaginative world premiere staging of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, An Epilogue at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The performance blended text and multimedia with live vocal music performances by the Chorus, receiving national attention and critical praise.
Show development commenced in early February 2012 and will continue during the spring with a series of performance workshops involving GMCLA members, community members, and students in engaged dialogue, improvisations, and performance of music in response to It Gets Better themes and videos. Material from these workshops will be synthesized with original and adapted material (such as the posted responses to It Gets Better videos).
Music development for the project will be coordinated by platinum-selling recording artist Morten Kier and supervised by GMCLA Artistic Director E. Jason Armstrong. Ken Klawitter of STA is assisting with script development. Seth Levy is coordinating for the It Gets Better Project. GMCLA Director of Development and Marketing, Chris Verdugo, is overseeing the project for GMCLA.
It Gets Better engagements will be managed exclusively by David Lieberman Artists Management (dlartists.com).
Prominent entertainment and new media attorney Jimmy Nguyen is co-producing and providing pro-bono legal services for the project.
WHAT WILL THE SHOW BE LIKE?
The touring company for the cast will include 6 performers, a musical director, and a tour/technical director. The show will frankly explore what the promise of “better” implies for LGBT youth, including relationships, sexuality, and the possibility of marriage and families.
Bullying – in all its iterations – will be tackled in an onslaught of music, movement and multimedia. Performers will reflect on the pain of losing young people to suicide and relate stories of their own darkest moments… and greatest triumphs.
The most powerful moments will undoubtedly be the arrival on stage of a vast local chorus of singers to join the company for multiple numbers. The simple power of GMCLA’s True Colors video will come to life each night on stage.
WHY DO WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT?
Hundreds of hours will be volunteered by the artistic and producing team to create this show, but we still need money to help fund the show’s significant development costs – such as space rental for rehearsal, obtaining proper music licenses, and hiring technical professionals for lighting design, set design, and multimedia design. We must also purchase equipment to stage and tour the show, including microphones and other audio equipment, instruments, costumes, props, set materials, and road gear to house it all.
Your contribution will be made to GMCLA, and will be 100% tax-deductible (for U.S. contributors).
WILL PROCEEDS FROM THE SHOW BE USED FOR MORE GOOD WORK?
Yes! Proceeds from performances of It Gets Better will benefit both GMCLA’s Alive Music Project, an outreach program for LGBT and music education in schools, and the It Gets Better Project™. Thus, your support today will kickstart a longer term revenue stream tomorrow to support the great work of two non-profit organizations to help LGBT youth.
GMCLA believes this project exemplifies the Chorus’ goal to expand the reach of their work to more geographically broad and diverse audiences as LGBT rights discourse and battlegrounds evolve. For more than 30 years, the members of the Chorus have themselves stood as a living testament that “It Gets Better.” As kids, many of them never knew a life of joy and success awaited them, and now they are eager to bring the thrill of live music and theater to the It Gets Better phenomenon.
This is your chance to help let LGBT youth know that life indeed gets better – all through the power of music and theater. Please support It Gets Better.
NOTE: IT GETS BETTER and IT GETS BETTER PROJECT are trademarks owned and licensed by Savage Love, LLC.
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