GENIUS is a 2 act 'narrative recital' based on the life and music of Ray Charles, featuring a 'sermon' and 32 Ray Charles classics.
GENIUS:The Gospel, Soul & Rock'n'roll of Br Ray(c) 2012
WHAT WE WANT TO DO.
One actor, 9 musos and 7 singers (2 male leads, 5 females [THE RAYONS] - recount the life and music of Ray Charles, pound for pound, the most influential musician/singer/arranger/producer of the 20th century. It's more than a 'tribute concert' but it's also NOT a 'musical theatre' show. It's a hybrid...Born in a church it can also be performed outdoors - at a winery?, in a club, in a tent - or a theatre .
HOW WE WILL DO IT...
Our funding target ends June 30. We'll launch Sat Sep 22 the eve of Ray's 82nd birthday.
Run for 2 weeks x 4 shows (4000 tix). Should they sell like we expect them to we'll continue at Collins St Baptist till Kingdom come...then set up something similar in Sydney - then take it to Branson,Mo dinner/theatre capital of America and eventually to a nice African American church Off Broadway?
HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE USED...
FUNDS WILL NOT BE SPENT ON AN OVERPRICED THEATRE - THEN SPENDING MORE MONEY TO BUILD SETS TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A CHURCH WHEN PERFECTLY SERVICEABLE CHURCHES ARE AVAILABLE ALL OVER, DIRT CHEAP.WE FIRMLY BELIEVE YOU SHOULD PAY THE TALENT, NOT THE BOX IT'S CONTAINED IN!
At Melbourne's 09 Fringe Festival we produced 15 nights of 'GENIUS' for 60K. All 25 performers got paid and song performance rights were also paid.
How ? Well instead of spending $150K on rent for a theatre for 3 weeks, we spent about 10k renting Collins St Baptist church. I almost feel guilty about it but I figure I'm an atheist bringing new people to their beautiful church ...one hand washes the other.
(Unfortunately we ran out of money for a reasonable ad spend).
By paring back the onstage personnel to 17, doubling the budget and halving the number of performances we'll have a media budget and a chance of seeing some return on the 8 years invested in 'GENIUS' whilst maintaining value for money ticket wise.
No chandeliers will drop from the ceiling, NOBODY flies.. We don't have a chorus line...the audience does the dancing.
It's a simple heartfelt eulogy recalling an extraordinary life - and the Mt Everest of songlists to go with it... Gershwin,Stevie Wonder , Quincy Jones, Lennon/McCartney as well as Ray's - Ray did em all and made them his own.
IDENTITIES ON THE TEAM
Melissa Lee McCoy (Executive Producer/Business)
Craig Wilkins(Executive Producer/Show)
Gary Constable(Sound), Rick Webb (lighting)
Tim Blamey (MD/Charts/arrangements-horns)
Andy Burns (Assistant MD/rhythm)
Chris Kirby (Actor - subject to availability)
Our policy has always been - We want the best, and the best are always busy.
In 09 season we had the 'original band and singers' together about five times in 15 shows. Thus pretty much EVERYBODY has a stand-in...The only thing indispensible to this project is Ray's incredible legacy.
Thus it will always be... It's my self-appointed lot in life to juggle great talent.
There will always be a home for awesome vocal talents like Jeff Duff, Doug Parkinson,Wylie J MIller, Mike Brady, Barry Charles, Not to mention The Rayons..Shirley Davis, Tracey Miller, Kaukau Kaurauia, Nardia Brancatisano, Georga Byrne etc...
GENIUS is dedicated to Ray Charles and to my best friend, Richard Morgan. RIP.
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