Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Red Death": A New Opera by Bryan Colley and Daniel Doss

Many of you are aware that, since 2008, Bryan and I have produced an original play every year at the Kansas City Fringe Festival. Since Fringe is a beautiful testing ground for new and different material, we've tried to challenge ourselves every year to do something we've never done before. We've done comedy, drama, satire, campy musical, staged an old radio play, and some productions that sort of defy categorization.

This year, it's opera.

WAIT! Don't be scared. It's very audience-friendly opera. Intimate opera. It called Red Death, and it's based on Edgar Allen Poe's short story "Masque of the Red Death." Bryan wrote the libretto, and local composer Daniel Doss wrote the music. And it takes my breath away. It is sweeping and intricate and haunting and creepy. Operatic tenor Nathan Granner stars as the "dauntless and sagacious" Prince Prospero, who believes he can escape the disease ravaging the country by locking himself and a bunch of friends in his castle to party on, with Devon Barnes as his servant, who tries desperately to talk some sense into him. Amy Hurrelbrink is choreographing and will join dancers Chelsea Anglemyer, Josh Atkins, Tyler Parsons, and Tiffany Powell onstage.

It is, by far, our most ambitious production to date. Costumes are being designed and built. The set is bigger and more intricate than anything we've attempted before.

These things cost money. So does hiring an accompanist to play Daniel's intricate music. So does renting a piano. So does publicity and marketing (flyers, print ads, etc). So does paying actors, which is very important to me.

So, we've had to face the difficult decision to ask for help in producing this show. Financial help. We've never done this before. It's hard to ask people for money. But if this show is going to be everything that we dream it can be, we have to. Otherwise, production standards will necessarily be lowered. I hate that prospect more than I can say.

On Saturday, we are holding a fundraiser, Masks for the Red Death: A Poe-pourri of Talent and
Activities. It will be held from 7-9pm in the Fellowship Hall (north entrance) at St. Peter's UCC, 700 E. 110th (corner of 110th and Holmes). St. Peter's is a huge supporter of local arts, and they have been extremely kind to us.
We will have entertainment, food, a silent auction, a mask-making "craft buffet," and a photo booth. Individual tickets to the fundraiser are $15, or 2 for $25. Kids,12 and under, will be admitted free. More info at the Facebook event page:
If you want to help our project, but are unable to make it to the fundraiser, Bryan has an online donation button on his website:
Please consider donating. You'll get your name in the program, and our deep gratitude. Maybe I'll sing you a song too. I take requests.

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