Our Journey So Far (by Bridget S.)

If you’ve been reading here the last few months, you’re already familiar with the writing of Bridget Straub.  I love the candidness and insight she brings to the sanemoms table, and when I heard about a new creative project of hers that needs a little kick to get it going, I wanted to share it with you all! She tells the story in her own words below, so please take the time to check it out, and chip in a buck or two or more if you can … if we all gave $5 she’d be there in no time :).  Good luck Bridget!

Room to Grow : A Cool New Musical for the Whole Family!

As parents, sometimes our closest friendships develop through our kids. When my daughter Tessa began kindergarten, she became friends with a little girl whose mother just happened to be Laura Hall. At the time, the name meant nothing to me. Laura was just a nice mom among several other nice moms that I was slowly getting to know in that first year of “real” school. Like me, she had another daughter two years younger, and soon play dates could include all four kids, which gave the adults more time to talk and get to know one another. I think it was Laura’s husband, Rick, who told me she had been the piano player on “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” and that the two of them had met through Second City in Chicago. Laura had never mentioned it. She is hands down one of the most grounded people I have ever met.

Over the next few years we became good friends, as our younger daughters in particular became all but inseparable. While both Laura and Rick worked in the entertainment business, (Rick as an actor, Laura as a musician) I was a struggling writer working with my sister in her photography business.

Our younger girls began doing school plays when they were about seven, and by the time they were ten we had seen them in just about any show that was remotely appropriate for children. This is when Laura first read a novel I’d written, and decided that together we could create a musical that would be appropriate and fun for kids, but also enjoyable for parents to watch. “Get on that,” she said only half joking, and so the seeds for “Room to Grow” were planted.

 What I at first thought might be a loose interpretation of “The Old Woman in the Shoe” developed instead into the tale of a large, artistic family who has outgrown their home and therefore they move into a new neighborhood. In this new “perfect” neighborhood they stand out as less conventional than what these neighbors are used to. Due to an unexpected accident they fall on hard times, but learn to pull together. It is a story of tough economic times as well as acceptance that proves we can do more when we unite instead of divide.

Told through humor and great songs, it not only accomplishes everything we set out to do but it was also incredible fun to write. Once I had the basic rough draft of the book, Laura and I got together and hammered out the details, cracking ourselves up in the process. For the songs, we would discuss what should be included and then I would hand her lyrics that she would miraculously make work. I can’t even begin to tell you how foolish I felt handing this phenomenal songwriter, lyrics. I still can’t believe we have collaborated on these songs.

Our next step was to see if we were the only ones who thought what we had written was funny. We gave it to the woman who ran the summer theatre camp at our daughters’ school and as soon as she read it, she wanted to direct it. So last summer, with a group of over eighty kids, we were able to showcase “Room to Grow” through several different casts and kids ranging in age from five to eighteen. I cannot begin to describe how thrilling it was to hear our songs sung back to us. It was also incredibly rewarding to see how well the material worked.

Now we are moving onto the next step, which is looking for funding. It is our dream to bring this musical to every camp, school and community theatre around, but first it has to be seen. We want to mount a production here in Los Angeles where it can get the recognition and reviews that will garner it the attention it deserves. In looking for ways to do this we came across Kickstarter .com. If you are not familiar with this site, it works like this; You submit your project, and if accepted, you follow certain steps such as making a video explaining what your project is and what you plan to do with it. You also give written details that include a time table and how you will use the money raised. You provide a small bio and then you set up pledge amounts and what the donors will receive in return. These range anywhere from undying gratitude to tickets to the show or CDs, etc. The money pledged is not taken from anyone’s account until you are fully funded and if you do not reach your goal, you get nothing.

What at first seemed like an easy way to gather funding for a spring production has been far more time consuming than we originally thought it would be. The social media alone takes up a lot of time, but we are doing it. We have given ourselves six weeks to pull off a goal of $7500.00. Ten percent of that will be divided between Kickstarter and Amazon, who handles the payments.  The rest will be spent on rehearsal space, theatre rental, costumes, lighting, sound, etc. It’s a big challenge, but we believe so strongly in both the quality and the message of this musical that we know we can do it. Then it will be on to that next step of actually producing the show. Again, I’m sure it will be difficult, but I can’t wait!

I never would have guessed that our meeting through our daughters would have brought us to this point. This is a journey I couldn’t have imagined and yet it has been incredible. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Want to see our video?  http://kck.st/odbGUO