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The West Coast Premiere of Jason Chimonides' edgy anti-coming-of-age  play "The Optimist" starring Chris Bellant and Sarah Jes Austell
The West Coast Premiere of Jason Chimonides' edgy anti-coming-of-age play "The Optimist" starring Chris Bellant and Sarah Jes Austell
70 backers pledged $5,125 to help bring this project to life.

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The Play

Over the course of one tumultuous weekend, Noel returns to his hometown to confront the sudden death of his best friend, the wedding of his philandering father, and the reemergence of his one true love, Nicole. A hilarious, poignant journey punctuated by the puerile antics of Noel's fraternal twin brother, Declan, THE OPTIMIST follows three young people into a rundown motel room where they tackle unfinished romance, the imminent arrival of a rampaging patriarch, and the threat of impending adulthood.

"Playwright Jason Chimonides' script abounds with witty remarks, dirty allusions, and random tangents where high art and popular culture collide and explode." —New Theatre Corps

"Compelling drama…deliriously entertaining." —The New Yorker

"The Optimist" April 3-20 at Elephant Stages in Los Angeles
"The Optimist" April 3-20 at Elephant Stages in Los Angeles

The Production

The West Coast Premiere of "The Optimist" will open at the Elephant Theater in Los Angeles on April 3rd and run for three weeks.

Will Wallace will direct the production. Will recently directed "Red Wing", starring Bill Paxton and Frances Fisher. Warner Bros. will release the film this spring. He also recently produced "The Appearing" for Lionsgate. Will has previously produced "Flatland" with Kristen Bell and Martin Sheen, and "Rock Slyde", with Patrick Warburton and Jason Alexander.  As an actor, Will has appeared in "Tree of Life", "Thin Red Line", "Detention", and many more.

Dedicated to the memory of Dan Wheeless, the biggest optimist there ever was.

The Cast

Sarah Jes Austell is a New York based actress. She recently starred in the world premiere of "Fist In Mouth" at Cherry Lane Theater. She also starred in "The Birds" with One Year Lease Theater Company in Papingo, Greece. Theatre: The Cherry Orchard (Director: Bob Moss), The House of Bernarda Alba (Director: Melissa Maxwell), Friend of the Devil (Director: Laura Braza), and The Birds (Director: Kim Weild). She appears in the feature film "The Fly Room" and her short film “Tryouts” was a finalist at the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival, as well as the 2013 Lady Filmmakers Film Festival. She is an alumna of NYU Tisch, The Stella Adler Studio, Stonestreet Studios, and Playwrights Horizons Theater School.

 Chris Bellant appears in the Warner Bros. thriller "Into the Storm" in theaters next summer. He also stars in Mattheau O'Brien's "Fairfield" alongside Juliet Landau and Chris Riggi and in the indie feature "Living with the Dead". His feature film "The Backseat" will be in theaters this year, and he can also be seen on A&E's new series "Those Who Kill", premiering this spring. Onstage, he has appeared Off Broadway in "Unhealthy", with Allison Scagliotti ("Warehouse 13") and Caitlin Kinnunen ("Spring Awakening"), and "Snow Angel" by David Lindsay-Abaire. He also starred in Annie Baker's "The Aliens" at the Stonington Opera House and is currently starring in Daniel Talbott's new play "Extraordinary Things" in New York with Rising Phoenix Rep. This month he began production on two new films, "Reset" and "Erostorge". Upcoming projects include Lori Hamilton's new series "I Hate Hipsters", and "Loserville", a feature film that he co-wrote.

What We Need

All of the money raised through Kickstarter will go toward set design and construction, travel expenses, renting rehearsal space, and performance rights. This is a fraction of the total budget, but a vital amount. 

Risks and challenges

As New Yorkers, we are navigating a new landscape by producing this in Los Angeles. But with our seasoned production team, we are confident that we will overcome any challenges that may arise during this process.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Special thanks in the show's program and weekly updates about the rehearsal process

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Signed programs from the west coast premiere, exclusive rehearsal photos, a PDF of the script, and a special thanks on Facebook

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Signed polaroids of the cast, exclusively steamy and embarrassing Venice Beach photos of Sarah Jes Austell and Chris Bellant, access to audio diary entry of our arrival in LA/our first rehearsal/and opening night.

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    A pair of tickets to the show and a prop used from the performance (only 3 props available at this level!)

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    Personalized thank-you video from the cast and invitation to sit in on rehearsals

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Two VIP tickets to opening night and VIP tickets to the premiere of Chris Bellant's upcoming zombie film "Fairfield"
    (transportation coordinated but not provided)

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Invitation to the cast party and featured extra role in the feature film "Loserville" *check us out on imdb!
    (transportation to the set will be coordinated but not provided by the production)

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

    Producer credit and win a date with Chris Bellant!!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Speaking role in an upcoming feature film "Loserville" *check us out on imdb!
    (transportation to set will be coordinated but not provided by the production)
    And win a date with Sarah Jes Austell (because she's worth more than Chris Bellant)

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Funding period

- (27 days)