Now. Here. This. Cast Album Closer to Reality; Fundraising Campaign Nets Nearly $50,000

By Kenneth Jones
August 9, 2012

Following six days of fundraising on the Kickstarter.com website, the creators of the Off-Broadway musical Now. Here. This. have raised $46,625 toward a $75,000 goal to support the original cast recording.



The campaign began on Aug. 3. The album will be produced and distributed by Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records in conjunction with Vineyard Theatre, which produced the quirky musical revue that drew on the lives and personalities of the stars of the cult-hit musical [title of show] — Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff and Jeff Bowen. The Off-Broadway Vineyard production ran March 7-April 28.

The fundraising period ends Aug. 30, and there are perks at different levels of giving (for example, a future dinner with the cast).

Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell, executive producer of The Vineyard, said in a statement, "Developing and producing new musicals has always been a part of our mission as a non-profit theatre company. Musicals are considerably more expensive than plays to produce and funding the cost of producing an original cast recording in addition to the development and production expenses can be challenging. Our composer Jeff Bowen and Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight and I sat down and got excited about the prospect of doing this on Kickstarter to be able to make a recording of this beautiful score a reality. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the backers in our first weekend on Kickstarter. We are deeply grateful."

Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom added, "Preservation of musicals through Original Cast Recordings is an essential tool for the artists involved, the original producing theatre and future producers, as well as moving the art form forward for future generations. Without a recording it becomes very difficult to license the show. Unfortunately, the cost of preserving musicals can be extremely expensive and therefore cost-prohibitive. By crowd-funding Now. Here. This., our hope is to activate supporters of the creators and musical theatre in general to help us preserve this recording. The music industry is evolving so rapidly and having tools like Kickstarter is proving invaluable to us."

Now. Here. This. has music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen and a book by Hunter Bell and Susan Blackwell. It was produced Off-Broadway at Vineyard Theatre with direction and choreography by Michael Berresse, musical direction and arrangements by Larry Pressgrove, and starred the three writers alongside collaborator Heidi Blickenstaff.

The musical reunited the six major collaborators of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical, [title of show], which was also produced by Vineyard Theatre in 2006, winning Obie Awards for its creators, prior to transferring to Broadway. Bell was Tony Award-nominated for Book of a Musical.

Here's how Vineyard characterized the hard-to-define Now. Here. This.: "The six original collaborators of [title of show] are back and all delving into life's big questions with inimitable humor and humanity. The show explores birds, bees, reptiles, early man, ancient civilizations, and outer space. Also, loneliness, friendship, hoarding, hiding, laughing, living and dying. And middle school. And dinosaurs."

Read the March Playbill Diva Talk interview with Susan Blackwell.

For more information about the cast album, visit the show's kickstarter page.

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Kickstarter is a crowd funding website for creative projects. Founded in 2008, it is the world's largest funding platform for such creative endeavors as indie films, music, comics, journalism, video games and food-related projects.

For more information about Vineyard productions, visit vineyardtheatre.org.