Clara and the Beef
Clara and the Beef
A musical about Clara Peller, the "Where's The Beef?" lady. www.wheresthebeefmusical.com | #wheresthebeefmusical
A musical about Clara Peller, the "Where's The Beef?" lady. www.wheresthebeefmusical.com | #wheresthebeefmusical Read more
About this project
During the play, we learn that Clara is a single mother struggling to raise two children. She decides to be her own boss and learn the beauty business. Many years later, she retires, and her ability to give an authentic manicure gets her a job with a director.
Joe Sedelmaier was a director who specialized in working with ordinary people. Clara did several ads for him before she did the “Where's The Beef?” ad which originally aired on January 10th, 1984.
After the Wendy's ad, Clara and Marlene, her daughter, traveled to many states. As the trips become more frequent, Clara begins to think about her past. Marlene, who, by fate, has become Clara's manager, begins to see Clara as an unusual woman who is tough and resilient. They travel the celebrity route, except there is no red carpet. Clara becomes an American icon.
Our play begins in the present, when Marlene receives a telephone call from Wendy's. The Wendy's representative tells her that Wendy's wants to reuse the commercials featuring Clara's image. Clara has been dead for many years. The request triggers questions in Marlene's mind about how to handle this. She has a special closeness with her mother, and does not want anything to intrude upon it. Marlene seeks answers, and the play begins.
Reasons for making the musical
Musical theater is a magical, collaborative and larger-than-life format where we plan to share Clara with a new audience. Our goal is to let the audience know that the lady who said, “Where's The Beef?” had a life that was both difficult and inspiring. We want to shed new light on the way people view celebrities and juxtapose the way it was in the 1980's against the way it is now.
Marlene Necheles adapted her 2010 book, Clara Peller: An American Icon, into the first draft of Clara And The Beef as librettist and lyricist in 2012 while taking a musical workshop. Marlene met Geoff Shell shortly thereafter and the two began a long journey (two and a half years!) to get to the point we're at now:
- Over an hour of music composed and recorded (34 tracks) in a wide range of styles with vocals, character voices and instrumental arrangements produced by Geoff Shell
- Formatted book/script (50 pages) complete with dialogue, scene description and lyrics that match all of the audio recordings by track number
- Clara And The Beef website – www.wheresthebeefmusical.com
- Clara And The Beef social media – [see links below]
- Video Web Series (first video featured above) with a new video scheduled to be released every Tuesday during our 60-day Kickstarter campaign – www.vimeo.com/wheresthebeefmusical
- Digital Archive of 100+ photos and 50+ newspaper/magazine articles planned to populate our social media
- Clara Peller commercial archive hosted on Rad Universe YouTube Channel
We're both big fans of musical theater and it's collaborative nature in both the creative process and production. Marlene and Geoff have taken their ideas as far as they can by themselves and are now looking to collaborate with new talent on a large scale in efforts of bringing Clara back to life on the theatrical stage in song and dance.
"On T.V. and other media across the U.S.A. – Americans listened and heard her words say: Where's The Beef?"
Explanation of Kickstarter
For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is an all-or-nothing endeavor – if we don’t meet our goal, we get none of what was pledged and nobody gets charged for anything. Unfortunately, we also won’t be able to pay out any of the incentives. However, if we go over our goal, we get all of it! And yes, we will continue to pay out the incentives to donors who contribute beyond our goal.
If you cannot donate, but still want to support us, please “Like” our project, as it increases our exposure and our chances at being listed on Kickstarter’s “Featured” page! Even if you are a donor, please do likewise.
Plan for the money
The exposure we hope to gain through Kickstarter, our social media presence and video web series aided by Clara's already existing presence in the 1980's cultural zeitgeist will be used as leverage to attract the best talent we can find to join our creative team here in Clara's hometown of Chicago.
The money we hope to raise through Kickstarter will go directly towards production and an elaborate collaboration process that will produce the absolute best end result:
1. Writers / Improv Actors Workshop – We will begin by bringing in a few talented writers and improv actors to collaboratively fine-tune our book and music with weekly meetings and brain-jam sessions. We will take a hard look at what we have, what we don't have, what works, what doesn't, what new ideas we haven't considered yet and how to weave everyone's best ideas into the strongest iteration of the work. We will write, rewrite, test and test again until the book and music reaches a new level of sophistication only possible by the spirit of collaboration in a focused environment. We estimate this to be a 10-week process.
2. Pre-Production / Rehearsals – After the final book and music is locked, we will bring in a group of designers, directors, choreographers, actors and musicians to begin working on the staging of the work. There will be a lot of room for creative expression as this will be a platform for artists to bring their A-game and contribute their best work. There will be lots of dancing and choreography to create, sets and costumes that reflect both the real and surreal aspects of the 1980's, lighting and sound design that amplify the emotions and natural humor of our story, and the rhythm of dialogue into song into underscore into one seamless production executed by talented actors and musicians. We estimate this to be another 10-week process.
3. Production - We will stage our final work in Chicago for a limited run as a "showcase" to gain further interest in a larger production. We would like our show to run as long as possible, but at minimum, we will stage it for at least a couple of weekends at a theater we rent in Chicago, and we hope to do this by 2016. Admission will first be reserved for industry people and those who donated $1000 or more. If we can run the show longer and open up to general admission, all Kickstarter backers will have first priority of obtaining tickets. How many shows we stage as the result of this Kickstarter will be entirely based on how much money we can raise beyond our break even budget of $50,000 we're initially asking for.
OTHER COSTS: In addition to having a comfortable amount of money to pay our cast and crew for their talent, time and efforts, we will also use our funds to rent a space for our workshops and rehearsals, rent a theater for our "showcase" production, designing/printing playbills and other promotional materials for the show, providing meals when we can and ensuring everything stays at the highest professional level at all times.
The road to Broadway and Beyond
Every big idea has to start small and convey what is possible on a limited budget with limited resources. We have high hopes of one day adapting our story into a large scale production for Broadway, the silver screen and beyond. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we know collaborating with new talent and doing everything we possibly can with what we currently have and what we haven't even thought of yet is the only way we're ever going to have a shot at turning this into something of lasting significance in the ever-evolving presence of musical theater.
In the spirit of Clara who lived life to its fullest and never felt limited by anything, unafraid to go on a wild ride, Marlene and Geoff are encapsulating the same energy, ready to take every practical step to get from from here to there. It starts with a showcase of the work funded by Kickstarter, and the rest is still unwritten.
On a final note,
Geoff and Marlene would like to personally thank all of you who have made it to this part of the page. Hopefully that means you're as excited about the project as we are and have been moved to make a pledge to our campaign!
If you have any questions, please send all general inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
For interested creatives and actors, please send head shots, resumes and/or links to email@example.com
If you haven't already, please check out our website for more information www.wheresthebeefmusical.com
And be sure to check back every Wednesday for a new video in the web series www.vimeo.com/wheresthebeefmusical
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts in helping us make this dream a reality!
- Marlene & Geoff
Risks and challenges
• Finding the creative team and a suitable venue for the showcase
• Timeline: we would like to stage the work by 2016, but things can often take longer than expected. If more time is needed for creative development, we will not rush the final delivery until everything is ready. The first people to hear about any changes to our timeline will always be our Kickstarter backers.
Support this project
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