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!
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...
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
Instruments used in La Bruja & Torito Jarocho:
African influenced instruments used when Vita comes across los Chaneques:
Vita & Sugar Skull come across Los Viejitos waiting to get on the train.
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!
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)