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Five "fierce, funny, talented women" serve up a silver-sequined, multimedia dance-theatre dissection of the American Dream.
147 backers pledged $11,563 to help bring this project to life.

About

STAIRWAY TO STARDOM: an Amanda Szeglowski / cakeface show project video thumbnail
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$11,563

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Stairway to Stardom is a multi-media infused original dance-theatre work created by writer, director, and choreographer Amanda Szeglowski and her all-female company, cakeface. 

With crackling wit and startling honesty, it is a silver-sequined dissection of the American Dream. Synthesizing razor-sharp choreography and a poker-faced delivery of original text, the cast shatters the facade of "making it." Featuring live-mixed sound and visuals from electronic duo Prism House and clips from the 80s cult public access tv show of the same name, Stairway to Stardom honors the contributions of the wildly passionate but questionably talented among us.

Described by NPR as "an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol,” “Stairway to Stardom,” which aired on public-access television in New York City from 1979 to the early 1990s, was filmed "in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement.” Host Frank Masi would bring on amateur singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians to show off their questionable talents. The drive and emotion behind these performers’ eyes is palpable, and yet, watching them you know they never achieved the success to which they strived. This piece endeavors to ask, “What happened?” 

The world premiere will be September 12-23, 2017 at HERE Arts Center in New York City.

cakeface's projects contemplate the uncomfortable through the use of grim themes and an inherently wry female wit. Creative Loafing recently called our work “as disturbing as it is delightful" and Culturebot nailed it with “Think Monica Bill Barnes for the Amy Schumer Generation,” in their 2015 article, Eight Reasons cakeface’s Harold, I Hate You Is Your New Favorite Downtown Dance/Theater Piece. 

THE TEAM

Performed by five fearless dance artists: Ali Castro, Jade Daugherty, Ayesha Jordan, Nola Sporn Smith, and Amanda Szeglowski, Stairway to Stardom has an exceptional creative team. 

The cast inhabits a pristine white space with a lacquered white floor: a massive box-like structure with distorted perspective as if it is coming towards the audience. The expansive design, created by architect Aviva Novick, draws viewers into a surreal meta-world. 

Glamorous costumes by Oana Botez juxtaposed against the imminent failure of the subjects hint at an ultra-modern interpretation of the meaning of “talent.” 

The lighting, designed by Amanda K. Ringger, frames the environment by building atmospheric sensations and mood-altering designs, and the immersive visuals, by Matt O’Hare (one half of electronic duo Prism House), incorporate original video content that spotlights vintage clips from the television show to cement the conceptual landscape. 

Composer Brian Wenner (the other half of Prism House) is crafting an original electronic score, based on sampled noise sourced from the internet. The evolving ambient soundscape underscores the combination of highly physical choreography and cakeface’s signature style of text delivery, a sophisticated vocal style where each artist has specific tempos, rhythms, repetitions, overlaps, and algorithmic parameters to follow when delivering their lines.

SUPPORT THUS FAR

Stairway to Stardom has been commissioned, developed and will be produced through the HERE Artist Residency Program. We were generously given three years of support to develop this work at HERE’s home in Soho, New York City. Additionally, I am a recipient of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation's Women Playwrights Commissioning program for Stairway to Stardom. This work has also been supported in part by Marble House Project, a not-for profit organization.

HELP US MAKE IT

We are asking for $11,000 to help Stairway to Stardom get its sparkle on.

The $11,000 is to pay the artists what they deserve, to pay the crew for their skilled labor, and to cover expenses for the set materials. If we exceed this goal – we get to make our wildest dreams come true – a more expansive set, costume changes, greater pay for the artists and crew, and 8+ hours of sleep at night.   

If we don’t reach our goal we forfeit EVERYTHING. Kickstarter is all or nothing, so your help is critical!

In addition, cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and we will be sending out emails with tax-deductible donation letters to each supporter.

WHY GIVE

The crux of my work as an artist is representing marginalized communities. Stairway to Stardom gives voice to a vast and varied population of have-nots and challenges our societal beliefs of who - if anyone - can “make it”. Ironically, this piece has become our company’s own chance to “make it.” With 10 performances at HERE Arts Center’s 100-seat Mainstage theater, Stairway is our most ambitious production to date. HERE’s longstanding status as a disrupter in the downtown theatre world will guarantee this show the industry, patron, and press attention it deserves. And with full marketing, development and producorial support, Stairway to Stardom is positioned to be our breakthrough work.

 

Risks and challenges

We've spent 3 years developing this work. It's the biggest thing we've ever done and your support will make it spectacular!

Photos by Benjamin Heller and Theodore Samuels.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    5 Alivers!

    Our deepest thanks for spending this 5 bucs on us instead of that late night slice of pizza.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Internet Celebrity!

    Your name will be added to our website in a special Kickstarter digital shrine.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get with the Program!

    You'll be handsomely thanked in the show program in addition to an inclusion in the cakeface website digital shrine.

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    35 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    This one's for the Groupies!

    An exclusive download of music from the show by electronic duo Prism House and a cakeface button, plus special thanks in the program and on the cakeface website.

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    23 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    You'll never forget us.

    A show photo signed by the cast, plus a cakeface button, Prism House music download, and special thanks in the program and on the cakeface website.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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    2 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll wear this forever.

    A limited edition Stairway to Stardom t-shirt
    plus all the above rewards.

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    16 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Your hat is dope!

    A limited edition Stairway to Stardom hat,
    plus all the above rewards.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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    0 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Your tickets are granted!

    2 tickets to come see Stairway to Stardom!
    On the night of your choice.
    Plus all the above rewards.

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    18 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Dranks!

    Join us at a special rehearsal and a reception afterwards with the cast and collaborators.
    Plus all the above rewards.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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    1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Move with us!

    A one hour long dance class for you and up to 5 friends taught by Amanda Szeglowski in New York City, no prior training required.
    Plus all the above rewards.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Write with us!

    A one hour long text-building workshop for you and up to 5 friends taught by Amanda Szeglowski in New York City.
    Plus all of the above rewards.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Sweat with us!

    A one hour long fitness class for you and up to 5 friends taught by company member Ali Castro in New York City.
    Plus all the above rewards.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    This Way to the VIP Party.

    You and a guest are invited to an exclusive VIP party hosted by an avid cakeface supporter at her lovely home on 14th Street in Manhattan post-show on Saturday, September 16. Get up close and personal with the cast and creative team after a mesmerizing performance.
    Plus all the rewards up to the $250 level including the 2 tickets to the show.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  14. Select this reward

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

    We should hang out.

    You and a guest are invited to have a drink and discuss cakeface, art, and the world at large with Amanda Szeglowski and some of the cast and collaborators.
    Plus all the rewards up to the $250 level including the 2 tickets to the show.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Yasssss, it's Cocktail Hour!

    Enjoy an evening of cocktails and dinner for 8 friends with the cast and collaborators of Stairway to Stardom on a Brooklyn deck overlooking Manhattan.
    Plus all the rewards up to the $250 level including the 2 tickets to the show.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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  16. Select this reward

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

    YOU DESERVE A CAPE. A REALLY SHINY ONE.

    Your very own custom sparkling silver cape designed by costume designer to the superstars, Oana Botez. Plus all the rewards up to the $250 level including the 2 tickets to the show.

    PS: cakeface and HERE Arts Center are not for profit organizations. HERE is a fully registered 501(c)(3), and will send you a tax-deductible donation letter for your contribution.

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Funding period

- (30 days)