Team StarKid recently announced their next parody musical, Twisted, and last night the creators launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the show,
Twisted is a parody musical in the style of Wicked, the telling of a classic tale from the point of view of the original antagonist – in this case, Jafar, from Disney’s Aladdin. The traditional story of Aladdin is a fairy tale in the public domain, so, unlike the Very Potter shows and Holy Musical [email protected]!, by making a few tweaks to avoid Disney’s wrath, Team StarKid is legally able to run Twisted in a professional theatre for an extended period of time, and sell tickets for the show – the audiences for [email protected] were given free tickets won through a ballot system. StarKid has never used a crowd-funding campaign for a musical before, though several individual members have used Kickstarter for personal projects.
The Twisted Kickstarter breaks down the funding Team StarKid will need to put on a four-week run of the show this July in Chicago – many more performances than the four or six nights that their prior theatre shows, Starship and [email protected], ran for. The budget for Twisted covers theatre hire, payment for the actors and musicians, travel expenses, sets, props and costumes.
You can watch the Kickstarter video for Twisted below, where the show’s creators discuss how they came up with the concept of Twisted, and hilariously explain their sympathy for Jafar:
In a show of support reminiscent of the Me and My Dick album release – this album from StarKid’s second musical was the first product that the group released for sale, given that all the initial Very Potter content was free, and, when finally given the chance to pay StarKid for their material, fans raised Me and My Dick to number 11 in the Top Cast Albums category on Billboard, making the show the first student musical to ever appear in the Billboard 200 charts – the Kickstarter fundraising goal of $35,000 was met within two hours, and around an hour later the show’s total projected budget was met. At the time of this article’s publication, the figure stands at $61,000.
Hypable spoke to the show’s creators, Nick and Matt Lang, directly after the Kickstarter was launched. They feel slightly uncomfortable about the move to crowd-sourcing, and have been resistant to the idea in the past – “I kind of feel bad about pre-selling a show,” Matt admitted – but Twisted co-creator Eric Kahn Gale, who worked with the Langs on Little White Lie and Me and My Dick, talked them into the idea of a Kickstarter campaign. Nick, Matt and Eric stated that they do not plan to take payment for their work as writers, directors and producers. In fact, they set their Kickstarter goal at $35,000 – $10,000 less than their projected budget, with plans to cover that final amount themselves if the Kickstarter managed to reach the target.
“We don’t feel comfortable setting it any higher,” Matt told us. “This time around, it’s a necessity, because we don’t have the money to do it. We could get away with it if we spent all of our money. All of our life savings.” Due to StarKid’s last two productions being unsellable copyrighted parodies, they did not make a profit and the funding for a new show was limited, Nick described to us. “With this one, if we wanted to be of a good enough calibre, and to pay the actors a fair amount, we’re going to need some outside help.”
StarKid are certainly offering some great rewards for the Kickstarter backers, including many Twisted-related products that fans will rush to buy anyway – the cast recording that will eventually be made, signed posters, t-shirts, and most importantly, tickets to the show. For a $40 pledge, you can secure a ticket to see Twisted some time in its four-week run, an opportunity that many fans are sure to jump on, given how difficult it has been in the past to obtain tickets to the last few live StarKid musicals. There are also meet-and-greet tickets up for grabs, for certain dates of the performance, which will run from July 4 at the Greenhouse Theatre in Chicago. Team StarKid state that if the Kickstarter goes over the projected budget – which it has, of course – that they will use the money to pay the actors a higher wage, create higher quality sets, and, if possible extend the run of the show.
The Langs also revealed to us that this show may be the first StarKid show to not go up on YouTube. “We would like it to be a show that runs,” Nick said. “We’re conceiving the show in a way of – in these other shows, they’re shot like sitcoms, where there are cameras around it, but in Twisted we’re going to stage it differently,” Matt elaborates, explaining that the show may not be practical for filming. They’re also concerned about immediately creating a permanent version of a show that has the potential to develop and change, if it becomes a long-running production. (Fans of Smash will be familiar with just how much content of a musical can change while it is being developed!)
If they do put it online, it may not be after the show’s initial run, if the show finds itself able to run again, incorporating re-writes and improvements. “We feel like it has the potential to be really good, so at this point, I don’t know if I can confirm it going on Youtube, because we would like it to be the kind of show that runs for longer and that everyone gets a chance to see it live.” So if you’re keen to see Twisted, we encourage you to use the Kickstarter to purchase tickets and find a way to make it out to Chicago this summer!
Keep an eye on Hypable for our feature interview with Nick and Matt Lang, where they will discuss more details about Twisted and, of course, look back at A Very Potter Senior Year.
How do you feel about Team StarKid launching a Kickstarter to fund Twisted? Will you be backing it and grabbing a ticket to go and see the show?