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Help Sugar Skull and friends get ready for a 30 city cross-country tour!
218 backers pledged $20,083 to help bring this project to life.
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$20,083

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 We invite you to join us in raising funds for the latest family show sensation to catch fire across the nation--Mexico Beyond Mariachi’s new show, Sugar Skull! A Dia de los Muertos Musical Adventure. 

Sugar Skull! is a beautiful story about a first generation Mexican-American kid who (thanks to a charismatic Sugar Skull coming to life!) learns the true meaning of Dia de los Muertos, the importance of family traditions, and embraces the richness of her cultural identity.  

Audiences across the country are craving this kind of culturally authentic storytelling. This colorful family show had an inaugural 9 city tour in fall of 2018, and resonated so much across the country that it has exploded into a 30 city, 13 state (and counting) cross-country tour for the fall of 2019.

Representation matters.  Cultural intelligence matters.

Please join us in getting Sugar Skull ready to hit the road!

Photos by Christopher Duggan-workshop, Feb 2018
Photos by Christopher Duggan-workshop, Feb 2018

With such unprecedented and quick growth of this project, we need to ramp up the production to withstand 2 months on the road: sets, costumes, rehearsal space, performers compensation for rehearsal, law costs for updated contracts...you get the picture...

Our first set--needs to be rebuilt to live through 2 months on the road
Our first set--needs to be rebuilt to live through 2 months on the road
Some of the costumes that need to be rebuilt
Some of the costumes that need to be rebuilt
Rehearsal at Armitage Gone! studio in Mana Contemporary-- Oct 2018
Rehearsal at Armitage Gone! studio in Mana Contemporary-- Oct 2018

Sugar Skull has been an extremely collaborative project from the beginning and the story has echoed with audiences of all backgrounds. 

Will you join us in bringing this timely show to kids and families across the country?

Now more than ever it is important to share stories that celebrate our diversity and the beauty of other cultures rather than perpetuate negative stereotypes that divide us.  

We want to bring the best possible version of Sugar Skull  to the 30 cities (and counting) on this tour, and bring it to the next level to continue touring for years to come. Sugar Skull educates as much as it entertains, creating conversations about what we all have in common.  When audiences walk away from the theatre, they will know more about the holiday and the people living in their community  

Vita's Ancestors--SUNY Purchase Performance, Fall 2018
Vita's Ancestors--SUNY Purchase Performance, Fall 2018

 Vita Flores is a contemporary kid from Queens, NY, who thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Why throw a party for the dead?  But when a candy skeleton on her abuelita’s cemetery ofrenda suddenly springs to life, Vita finds herself on a magical, musical journey to unravel the true meaning of Día de los Muertos.  Meet Sugar Skull, a charismatic skeleton with big dreams.  

Sugar Skull coming to life--workshop, Feb 2018
Sugar Skull coming to life--workshop, Feb 2018

Along with her skeletal new friend, Vita dances with ancient ancestors, sings with a sorrowful sorceress, escapes the trickster Chaneques, and even meets the famous Catrina Calavera.  But can this clever youth help a playful skeleton achieve his dream of riding the train to Who-Knows-Where before it’s too late? Sugar Skull! is a joyous, heartfelt adventure that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of Día de los Muertos. 

Vita and Abuelita--workshop, Feb 2018
Vita and Abuelita--workshop, Feb 2018

 Sugar Skull’s development began in November of 2017 when we recognized a need for stories that celebrate a culture that is so often negatively depicted in the media. 

We wanted to create a narrative that would counter that negativity by taking audiences on a journey into the vivid richness of Mexican culture, all while featuring a strong brown girl on a journey of self discovery! We also wanted to lovingly address the topics of childhood grief and loss with great tenderness. In short, a show about death that jubilates in the celebration of life.  

Telling the story of Doña Panchita--workshop, Feb 2018--photo by Christopher Duggan
Telling the story of Doña Panchita--workshop, Feb 2018--photo by Christopher Duggan

Script and musical arrangements were completed, and auditions for principal cast members were held in December of 2017. A fully costumed workshop was staged in Jersey City in February of 2018 with a company of 9 musicians, dancers, and actors of Latinx, indigenous, and Afro-Mexican backgrounds. 

Sugar Skull successfully completed its inaugural two week, 9 city tour in the fall of 2018. 

We are currently putting the final touches on what will be a revamped and improved (bigger and better!) two month cross country tour in the fall of 2019 where Sugar Skull will visit 30 cities in 13 states, and also are in the planning stages for an additional 2 month tour for fall 2020! 

As performers, teaching artists, professional teachers, and producers, we’ve paid attention to what resonates with young audiences.  After over a thousand in-school performances we've listened to their response to our shows which, in turn, has informed us about the stories, dances, music and even instruments that resonate with them.  This production comes as much out of their voices as it does out of the incredibly rich culture it emanates from.

 As we already know, getting the show on the road is going to cost more than 3 chocolate pesos...

Here is the percentage breakdown of the $20,000 we are asking for:

  • We need to hire a director!  For prior iterations, writer Gregory Van Acker and producer Leah Keith co-directed Sugar Skull. While these versions were significant, we're ready for a unique, professional directorial eye to elevate this work!  
  • Our 3 actors, 2 dancers and 3 musicians are professionals and some of the best at what they do--they deserve to be compensated appropriately for rehearsal time! We want them to be able to focus on preparing the show for the road rather than on side gigs.
  • We are based in NYC, and rehearsal studios aren't cheap to rent. That said, we have identified a studio that will charge us only $30 an hour--and it's in midtown Manhattan, easy access for all our artists!
  • Set, costumes, and puppets need to be re-built to withstand a 2 month tour in and out of various venues.
  •  We are adding additional projection designs from the most talented Scott Lilly to add dynamics to the show!
  • We are excited to bring multi-instrumentalist and singer, Daniel Soberanes, from Mexico. His involvement is essential to the success of the tour, and we will need to petition for an artist visa--this is already in the works!
  • In keeping with our ever present goal of elevating the cultural work, we also need to elevate our business procedures. We will be engaging with a lawyer who specializes in the performing arts to create new contracts between the production company, the author's group, and creatives of this project so parameters are clear and everyone is protected.
  • Last, but not least, we do have to pay 5% of our goal (if we reach it) to Kickstarter. There are also an additional 3-5% in credit card processing fees to account for. 

 These are confirmed dates as of May 25, 2019.  We are still working on booking a couple more dates in Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, so stay tuned!

UPDATE! Sugar Skull will be in Dallas, TX at the AT&T Center on October 24 & 25, 2019!

True to the Mexico Beyond Mariachi mission, most of the music and dance in Sugar Skull!  is outside the popular Mexican stereotype. Many of these originate from the blend of indigenous, African, and European traditions that, like a Diego Rivera mural, weave the story of the Mexican experience.

Each stop on Sugar Skull and Vita’s journey take them deeper into an authentic experience that leaves everyone’s perception of the holiday and the culture forever changed.

In Sugar Skull we use live music, with instruments authentic to each dance and geographical area represented.

Instruments used in Meshica dance, when Vita meets her Ancestors:

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Instruments used in La Bruja & Torito Jarocho:

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African influenced instruments used when Vita comes across los Chaneques:

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Vita & Sugar Skull come across Los Viejitos waiting to get on the train.

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While we know that you are supporting this project because you believe it is important to share stories about cultural representation with children across the US (especially with a focus on Mexican culture), we do have some pretty awesome perks!  

Take a look at the sidebar for our experiential perks (including partying with us!) and see below for visuals of our merch!

Design by Scott Lilly
Design by Scott Lilly
Design by Scott Lilly
Design by Scott Lilly
Design by Scott Lilly
Design by Scott Lilly



Professional Affiliations
Professional Affiliations

Risks and challenges

The longest our Sugar Skull! company has been on tour is 2 weeks. We need to make sure our sets won't fall apart! We are also working to make sure that our tech needs at all of the wildly varied venues we will be performing in are realistic. In ramping up this production we want to make sure that we are providing everything we can to support the story: from costumes, to makeup, and to our all-important steamer!

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Facebook shout-out!

    Thank you for supporting Sugar Skull! We will tag you and thank you on facebook for all to see!

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    11 backers
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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Thank you on our website

    Your name will be memorialized on our Sugar Skull supporter page on our website.

    Includes:
    Social Media Shout Out

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    24 backers
    $

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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    Vinyl Die Cut Stickers

    Get two 2x2 vinyl die cut stickers! One of Sugar Skull and one of the Ancestor! Art-work by Scott Lilly. See renderings in campaign.

    Includes:
    • Facebook shoutout
    • Name on MBM website
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    Ships to Only United States
    9 backers
    $

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Sugar Skull Coloring Book

    Downloadable coloring book featuring original Sugar Skull inspired artwork by Scott Lilly, our designer!

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website

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    30 backers
    $

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-Shirt

    Get your Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirt, and show your support for "Cultural Intelligence"

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website

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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 25 backers
    $

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    EXTENDED-Red Road Way Workshop

    Only available in NYC area

    Quetziquetl, who plays the Ancestor, will give a 1.5 hour workshop on traditional Danza (Meshica/Aztec dance), the philosophy, oral tradition, and the red way of life. This is a tremendously rare opportunity to get first-hand insight and experience from the authentic source.

    We feel that this is a tremendous opportunity that people should take advantage of, which is why we have extended this reward until the end of our campaign.

    Includes:
    • Facebook shoutout
    • Name on MBM website
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    Limited 4 backers
    $

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Limited Edition Sugar Skull Hoodie

    Scott Lilly is hard at work designing us a whimsical, fun, Sugar Skull full zip up hoodie! The Sugar Skull logo will be on the front left corner, and a colorful rendition of our own Sugar Skull face (with top hat) will be winking playfully on the back.

    See mock-up in the body of the campaign.

    Printed on Independent Trading Lightweight Zip Hoodie in Turquoise

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website

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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 17 backers
    $

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Party with us--Veracruz style!

    WILL TAKE PLACE IN NYC METRO AREA
    Join us in an authentic Mexican Fandango--a party with music, food, dance. Members of the cast will teach you basic dance steps, songs, and how to participate in the fandango--get the inside scoop!

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website
    -Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirt

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    Limited 19 backers
    $

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Exclusive invitation to preview the show

    Invitation for you and a friend to join us in an exclusive preview of the rehearsal process in Jersey City, NJ as we prepare for the tour.

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website
    -Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirt
    -Sugar SKull Limited Edition Zipped Hoodie

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    Limited 2 backers
    $

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    VIP Package for 2-city near you!

    This is an opportunity to get up close and personal with the Sugar Skull experience!
    You get 2 tickets (for you and a guest--may be a little person guest), 2 Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirts, 2 sets of Stickers, and a backstage pass after the show to meet the cast and see the instruments!

    This is only available in cities where there are public performances (as opposed to school time performances):

    9/28 at 11am in Philadelphia, PA
    9/29 at 4pm in Penn State, PA
    10/4 at 7pm in Glen Ellyn, IL
    10/11 at 6:30pm in Winona, MN
    10/13 at 3pm in St. Paul, MN
    10/22 at 7pm in Emporia, KS
    10/24 at 6pm in Dallas, TX
    10/25 at 6pm in Dallas, TX
    10/27 at Clovis, NM
    10/29 at 6pm in Tucson, AZ
    11/1 at 7pm in Lancaster, CA
    11/2 at 8pm in Oxnard, CA
    11/5 at 7pm in Modesto, CA
    11/8 at 6pm in Carmel by the Sea, CA
    11/9 at 1pm in Costa Mesa, CA
    11/10 at 1pm in Costa Mesa, CA
    11/15 at in Folsom, CA
    11/17 at 11am or 3pm in Eugene, OR
    11/19 at 7:30pm in Tacoma, WA

    Includes:
    • Facebook shoutout
    • Name on MBM website
    • Vinyl Die Cut Sticker
    • MBM T-Shirt
    • Sugar Skull Tickets
    • Backstage tour
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    Limited 4 backers
    $

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Facetime Q & A with Cast

    30 minute facetime/skype session with Sugar Skull cast. Great opportunity for school classrooms that are outside of the NYC area to bring Sugar Skull into their school virtually.

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website
    -Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirt
    -Sugar SKull Limited Edition Zipped Hoodie

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    1 backer
    $

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Patron

    You or your organization's name on all printed programs for Sugar Skull! A Dia de los Muertos Musical Adventure for the fall 2019 tour.

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website
    -2 Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirts
    -2 Sugar SKull Limited Edition Zipped Hoodies
    -Party with us
    -Invite to see the show for 2
    -Facetime session with cast

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    0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Co-Commissioner

    Specifically for Arts-in-Education Organizations in NYC, NJ, and Eastern PA.
    You will lock in the exclusive right to book the in-school (cafetorium, pared down) version of Sugar Skull in your market. Please also reach out directly to Peter Bogdanos for details.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    HAPPY HOUR SPECIAL-Coloring Book!

    Happy Friday! Our Friday Happy Hour special is our downloadable coloring book (featuring art-work by Scott Lilly) for the reduced fee of $10!!! Only available Friday, May 31, 2019 from 4-7pm!

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-Shirt

    PRICE CUT FOR FIRST 5 DAYS OF CAMPAIGN
    Get your Mexico Beyond Mariachi T-shirt, and show your support for "Cultural Intelligence"

    Includes:
    -Social Media Shout Out
    -Name on our Sugar Skull supporter wall on Mexico Beyond Mariachi Website

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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 7 backers
    $

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  16. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    LIMITED TIME-Red Road Way Workshop

    ONLY AVAILABLE FROM JUNE 12-JUNE 15 in NYC area

    Quetziquetl, who plays the Ancestor, will give a 1.5 hour workshop on traditional Danza (Meshica/Aztec dance), the philosophy, oral tradition, and the red way of life. This is a tremendously rare opportunity to get first-hand insight and experience from the authentic source. This will only be unlocked if 25 people choose this reward! If we do not reach 25 people in this reward, you will have an option to choose another reward.

    Includes:
    • Facebook shoutout
    • Name on MBM website
    Less
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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (35 days)