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$4,318 pledged of $15,000 goal
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$4,318 pledged of $15,000 goal
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About

The Desert Peach started as a comic book created by Donna Barr, chronicling the adventures of the eponymous protagonist, Erwin "The Desert Fox" Rommel's fictitious homosexual younger brother, Oberst Manfred Pfirsich Marie Rommel (1900–1990), nicknamed the "Desert Peach." Barr has said that she was inspired to create the character while working in the file office of the University of Washington, which was being painted a "horrible half-pink, half-tan color." Searching for a color name, she stumbled upon "desert peach," and was immediately inspired by the pun upon "The Desert Fox," the name given to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel during World War II. According to his biographers, Erwin Rommel had a youngest brother, named Manfred, who died in infancy—Barr said she only developed a personality whom the universe had prematurely discarded.

The Desert Peach commanded the 469th Halftrack, Gravedigging and Support Unit of the Afrika Korps: a catch-all for misfits, mavericks, and otherwise peculiar soldiers who, for whatever reason, were not suitable for service in the German Army but nonetheless were enlisted. In the words of their medical officer (a psychiatrist assigned to the 469th because his specialty was considered a "Jewish science"), it was a unit composed "entirely of stray puppies." The 469th was based on an escarpment by the sea. Pfirsich was of the opinion that a commander should not merely lead his troops but protect them, and arranged with local Allied commanders that there would be no fighting in that area (although newcomers did not always accept this modus vivendi).   

Donna Barr and T. Brian Wagner met each other at one of her infamous house parties (where she was costumed as Pfirsich). The soundtrack to the Rocky Horror Picture Show was playing, and when the song, "Toucha, toucha, touch me" began playing, Donna and T. Brian improvised a skit that had all the partygoers laughing uncontrollably. Plans were made to recreate the hilarity at an upcoming science-fiction convention, and resulting skits quickly became fan favorites (and the Peach Pitts were born). At some point, someone suggested that a musical be made, and we decided to take them seriously (because we deserved to).   

We brought a talented composer, Michael Seyfrit, onto the team, and within a year we had a fully realized musical, complete with book, lyrics and score, based loosely on the first issue of the comic book. We sent it out to every theatre company we could, but no one dared to produce this quirky offbeat musical. Undaunted we decided to produce it ourselves. 

The Desert Peach was our first attempt at a musical, and despite the fact that we didn't have a clue what we were doing, we still managed to pull off a professional production that amazingly enough, actually broke even. The feedback we got from the audience was fantastic; they had a ball. Even the actors have fond memories of the production and are proud to have been a part of it.   

However, we, the creators, being the picky egomaniacs that we are, always saw it as a glorified "workshop production," and planned on refining it after the initial run. Unfortunately, the death of the composer, Michael Seyfrit, shortly afterwards put a damper on that plan, and the show entered the annals of theatrical history.  Over the past couple of decades, we have heard from fans who missed the original production, and wanted to know if we ever planned to remount it. Finally, we have decided to give in to those demands, and now with the help of an awesome orchestrator, Keith van Kirk of Underscore Music, we can finally make what we feel are needed changes to fix the minor flaws in the show. Also, because technology has drastically improved, we can present the show with a fully orchestrated score (well, synthesized at least), giving it the lush sound we always wanted.   

The Seattle remount is just the beginning of our plan. If all goes well, this will be the seed that will grow into a touring production that may reach all the way to Broadway and beyond. We all feel that this will be a fitting tribute to Michael's amazing music and a chance to honor his legacy in a manner he would be proud of, thus fulfilling Michael's desire to see the full production come to fruition.   

Credits:  The Desert Peach (in Concert)   
Music by Michael Seyfrit 
Book & Lyrics by Donna Barr & T. Brian Wagner 
Orchestrations by Keith van Kirk 
Additional Lyrics by Angela Rhoads 

Risks and challenges

"Friends don't let friends produce musicals."

That's what our cast lovingly told us when we first did this 25 years ago, and we obviously didn't heed their advice. We clearly survived, and now, mostly recovered, we're willing to do this again. Our sanity and health will be on the line as we scramble to make this happen once more. We are confident we have learned from our past mistakes, and we look forward to making completely new ones this time around.

The original fully staged production cost approximately $30,000 to do, and would not have been possible without the time and effort gratefully donated by everyone involved. This time around we want to pay everybody working on the show. We ran the numbers and figured out that it will take a minimum of $15,000 to make this version happen. We're saving costs by presenting this in a concert format, but we still need to pay for the performance space rental, the cast, the crew, the audio recording engineer, etc.

Last time we just asked our friends to loan us the money to make it happen. This time, through the technological miracle known as crowdfunding, we can reach a much larger audience. In return for your support, we can not only give you cool merchandise that would normally only be available at the show itself, but also let you become part of theatrical history. Without our fans, the Desert Peach would not have been possible and most likely would have remained a silly little joke hanging on Donna's artist studio wall. Pfirsich is one of Donna's most enduring creations, and even though he's now old enough to drink (in the U.S.), his original musical message from two decades ago remains pertinent to our society. Join him (and us) as we throw a party big enough to end any type of war.

Once our project is fully funded, we will immediately move forward with the typical process that is required to make a show happen (auditions, rehearsals, etc.) and hiring the people that it possible (actors, rehearsal pianist, stage manager, costumer, marketing, merchandising, etc.). If all goes according to plan, we'll be opening the show in August 2018 at a suitable Seattle venue for a 4-week run. We will, of course, keep all of our backers informed of the show's development via regular progress reports through behind-the-scenes videos and the like.

We tried doing a Kickstarter fundraiser 4 years ago, but failed to get full backing. However, in light of the recent political climate and because there's been renewed interest in the project, we're willing to give it another go.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    HAUPTMANN

    Every little bit helps, and we're eternally grateful that you have chosen to contribute toward our project. As a reward, we'll list your name (if you should so choose) in the official programme book as a proud supporter of the arts. Plus, you'll receive a limited edition refrigerator magnet featuring Pfirsich at his most attractive.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    MAJOR

    The magnet, the programme book listing, AND a comfortable T-shirt (in your size) to wear as the mood strikes you . . . whether it be at a convention, the gym, or at the laundromat because you have nothing else clean to wear.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    OBERST

    As mentioned by Donna in the pitch video, this reward is for the silly paper hat she proudly made and wore on her head. This is a special reward and does not include any of the other stuff (but you're welcome to make another pledge to grab that stuff too). Only one available, and as she said, you're welcome to wear it to the show. Be the envy of all your friends.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    GENERALMAJOR

    The magnet, the programme book listing, the T-shirt , PLUS the 2-CD set of the concert recording featuring the revised score and the new cast voices. Certain to become a regular favorite in your playlist rotation.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    GENERALLEUTNANT

    We've got a pair of VIP tickets to the show waiting for you. You'll get your first pick of which show to attend (including opening night, if you so wish), and we'll even try our best to accommodate your seating preference (first row or house seats). Plus, all of the above-mentioned rewards will be waiting for you at will call (except for the paper hat). Of course, you are still responsible for providing your own transportation and accommodations to the Seattle area. And while we don't have the exact performance dates yet, we're aiming for an August 2018 run (when Seattle has its loveliest weather).

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    GENERAL

    It just keeps getting better. Not only do you get everything listed above, but Donna will do an original sketch (and will even take your suggestions into account) and include it in your reward package. Here is your opportunity to own an original piece of Donna Barr art!

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  7. Select this reward

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

    GENERALOBERST

    How would you like to have dinner at a nice place with the creators of the musical? This means that you get Donna and T. Brian as your scintillating meal companions. As anyone who has broken bread with us in the past, we provide some of the best entertainment available anywhere. Of course, you'll need to arrange for your own transportation and accommodations to the Seattle area, and you're responsible for your own tab, but this is your opportunity to see creative geniuses at their most genuine. And just to sweeten the deal, we'll also give you access to the exclusive opening night party, wherein you'll also get to rub elbows with the rest of the cast and crew.

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

    GENERALFELDMARSCHALL

    So you want it all? We'll give it to you, PLUS the original poster art for the show. That's right! It's yours. If you can't come get it (while picking up the rest of your goodies, including the dinner and cast party), we'll ship it out to you, no matter where in the world you might be. Certain to become a fabulous collector's item; this is strictly first-come, first-served.

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Funding period

- (60 days)