The new musical, Zuccotti Park, chronicles the passionate ideals and tumultuous times of the beginning of the Occupy Movement through the fictional story of a young soldier who--while crossing paths with protesters in New York City--must come to terms with how our country's financial system is run and learn what it really means to be an American.
Zuccotti Park focuses on bringing people together by reminding them of our common beliefs and history. To accomplish this, we anchor the play firmly in the extraordinary documents that were written at the birth of the country: the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration. In this way, the play is not divisive and political, but inclusive, finding common ground between all Americans, be they Democrat, Republican, Liberal or Conservative. This is the goal and the through-line of the play.
Our successful Kickstarter campaign will allow us over one year of concept, design and administrative production meetings before we premier ZUCCOTTI PARK in September of 2014.
The minute we receive our funding, we can begin interviewing and hiring our musical director, set designer, light designer, costume designer, musical arranger, technical director, and stage manager. Next we’ll look for the perfect performance venue. Artistic and administrative meetings will proceed through May of 2014, at which time the remainder of our staff, i.e. prop master, assistant director, house manager, etc. will be committed.
In June of 2014 we will cast our show, and in July we’ll begin rehearsals. Production meetings with key staff members will continue throughout the rehearsal process, and our publicity campaign will hit the press and social media July through September. At the end of August, we’ll begin running and working our show, and on September 8th we’ll “load in” to our performance venue and begin run-throughs.
On Wednesday, September 17th, the day the original American protesters first occupied the Wall Street district of New York City, We the People Productions will open our play that honors their activism and bears the name of their protest venue: Zuccotti Park.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
Technical - Total $2000
Personnel - Total $6900.00
Business/Administrative - Total $1100.00
Total - $10,000
HOW DID IT ALL START?
It started with Catherine’s burgeoning interest in the financial world five years ago, then a move from LA to the tiny town of Dixon in northern California, so she could be close to where her youngest son would attend college. Then her decision to move away from screenwriting and to reacquaint herself with an earlier love: plays. And not only plays but musical plays, for God sake!
Then came the epiphany. Why not write about what she’d learned while immersing herself in macro and micro economic study? And why not center this musical idea around the Occupy Movement, since so much of what they took issue with—and still take issue with—has to do with the way money works?
A first draft emerged. But then, the hard part. She needed someone to compose for this very unusual musical. There were banker songs, protester songs, lover’s songs, angry songs, songs sung by people from every different walk of life. It was a totally mixed bag, and the composer would have to be very talented to pull it off.
When Catherine heard Vatrena King sing her original songs at the Unitarian Church, she knew she had her composer. Vatrena was between projects, and also quite excited about the script. She saw the different characters’ song styles as challenging, and agreed to do it.
Then came Poppy Peach Nichols, because two creative minds need an organizer. And Poppy really keeps things moving and on track!
Next came Melanie Smith, a director-choreographer with decades of experience, and they were off and running.
Then, just before this Kickstarter campaign was to be launched, the publicist, Christy Corp-Minamiji signed on. So here they are, making script changes, raising money, and ready to do this thing. At an early table reading, the audience’s reaction was phenomenal! Another reading is planned for September. All of them feel blessed to be a part of this project, which has now taken on a life of its own.
Their ultimate goal is to open the play on the anniversary of the day the protesters first occupied Zuccotti Park: September 17, 2014.
Risks and challenges
Projects that attempt to affect change through the arts are usually— by their nature-– collaborative, and musical theatre is arguably the most collaborative of them all. A successful end project is not only dependent upon the correct words and music to convey the ideas at the heart of the project, but also the success of the director, musical director, choreographer, actors, designers, and musicians who will interpret this vision for the audience. And, even if all of the above have performed brilliantly, if a light board malfunctions during a show or an actor takes ill on performance day, the entire project comes to a halt.
Knowing that we are creating in this arena, the four collaborators of Zuccotti Park have built a foundation strong enough to accommodate challenges. First, the four signed off on Catherine Hurd’s project mission statement, which says, in part, “We are professionals, masters of our craft, and find strength in our uniqueness. We respect one another's talents and perspectives, and embrace those differences in our quest to share the ideals of the Occupy Movement with our audience."
Next, the creative team chose an opening date of over 13 months in the future, which will afford them 12 months to decide what they want—and do not want—in their venue, direction, musical direction, design team, run crew, house crew, publicity, and performers. The pre-production and production time frame for Zuccotti Park is approximately twice as long as that of most professional, community and academic musicals. This was chosen because if a song needs to be rewritten, a designer has a family emergency, a venue closes unexpectedly, a set piece topples, a musician quits, a light malfunctions during performance, or an actor takes ill, enough time, detail and deliberation have been put into the structure of the production to enable the utilization of a successful alternative plan.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (50 days)