Several people have suggested I start a Kickstarter campaign for the development of my new show, Lounge. I just choose to go about it in another way. It isn't because I don't believe in Kickstarter, its because I believe in venture capital, and have reached a point where I think I am experienced and crazy enough to actually make people money. I'm going to go ahead and post this here. If anyone is interested in owning a part of my latest show, read this and contact me here in a message. If you are not, stop reading here. I spent last night reading about the many artists who spent the majority of their lives very poor, and then Wham! Finally success! I believe I am one of those artists, but definitely need a foundation to get this show off the ground. I always look for ideas and shows that I can do in a practical way, in other words, I dream big, but am practically minded. This is a show that I know will work, and that if you own a piece of it, can come to the show in one of the many lounges and say, "I own part of this show." In NYC or Los Angeles, this is not a daft idea, (its the way shows get funded) but here in Phoenix, there are not exactly lots of people who are producing in this capacity. I'm not so daft that I think I can change that, but I believe I can find interested parties and quietly do what I do... And I know there are people out there who know and believe in what I do, and will understand this proposal.
NOTE: Below is just a paste of the actual proposal, if you want to see the official one I wrote, let me know.
LOUNGE, is a one-person show that explores the stories and the history of lounge singing in a modern age. The show is a compilation of theatre, lounge singing, and story telling, by award winning playwright/performer and lounge singer Raymond King Shurtz.
The show is composed with a ten-song infrastructure, with stories and monologues of the histories of the songs, as well as the current stories that accompany the affect the songs have had on the writer/performer's life.
The show will open in January in a theatre, to be followed by an aggressive tour of lounges throughout the Southwest. The show will run approximately one hour and forty- five minutes with short intermission.
Raymond King Shurtz, the artist, has been performing, writing, singing, and teaching for twenty five years. The canon of his thirty works includes three published plays, both with Samuel French and Dramatic/Anchorage Publishing. He was selected as the playwriting fellow in 2003 by the Arizona Commission on the Arts for his play, Blue Baby, A Memoir. All of Shurtz's plays have been produced, including Bohemian Cowboy, which garnished rave reviews in both The LA Times, The LA Weekly, and The Austin Examiner. His most recent production, Under the Desert was given a rave review in The Huffington Post, also produced in Los Angeles, and Boulder, Utah. (See review excerpts below)
Shurtz is also an accomplished musician and songwriter, event producer, and currently, works as a lounge singer. "Playing music is something you have to do every day. Lounge singing is the best way to acquire the hours you need to be really good at singing and playing, you need your ten thousand hours of mastery. I burn through a set of strings in one week's time, and love the discipline it takes to do a show, day in and day out," Shurtz says.
A gifted story-teller, from a generations of Utah storytellers, Shurtz believes in the art of masterful story tellers. "For as long as I can remember, I've been listening to some of the greatest story tellers I believe, in the world. My father, his father, uncles, aunts, cousins, are all well versed in the art of story telling. I have a library of punch lines that accompany these stories in the archive of my brain, Shurtz says, in fact, some of the punch lines are so well crafted they often don't even need the story!"
(a partial list of quotes, full reviews upon request)
Huffington Post - 2012
"Raymond King Shurtz's "Under the Desert" at Hollywood's Lounge Theatre is an armrest-gripping story that investigates, indeed, confuses, the line between sacred and profane love. Think of a collaboration between Albert Camus and Carlos Castenada. It's a simple production (the set, the clipped dialogue, the abbreviated gestures, the hermit lives of the two protagonists). But its simplicity belies a slew of pertinent unanswered (and unanswerable) questions. The production elicits stupefaction, admiration, delight and, most of all, empathy.
Austin Examiner – 2010
"He’s a natural born storyteller, with plenty of charisma, two properties that any great actor in a one person show simply must possess. Shurtz also injects a bit of my magic and mysticism into the proceedings, reminiscing about his journeys across the rugged west, his adventures playing poker with Hamlet, drinking with Hank Williams, and even arm wrestling Jesus, and each of these helps to illuminate a part of Shurtz’s own emotional mindframe, and help to keep the audience engaged in the story…"
The Austininan – 2010
"Shurtz’s passion is real and his sincerity palpable, as he inhabits characters who inhabited his life (including a curmudgeon loner of a grandfather and his (Shurtz’s) own little boy self). He also delivers more than a few lines of pure-as-the-driven-snow poetry…"
Paris Review – 2010 - Daniel Gillet, Paris, France
"In short, the play comes into a rejoicing resonance with many great American and western references we love because we were nurtured by those. However, beyond this, the play is deeply moving because it renders with subtlety and truth (probably due to its autobiographical nature, but certainly also to the talent of the story teller) the deep suffering and distress a son has for its neglecting father."
LA Times – 2009
"Like father like son. Tormented by a tale interrupted, the storyteller son, also a talented singer/guitarist, weaves a campfire ghost story with a Bergman-esque overlay. At times, Shurtz relies on specific reminiscences of Proustian exactitude. Most frequently, he ventures into a fantastic dreamscape, accompanied by such traveling companions as Jesus and Hamlet, who have their own lessons to impart…"
The LA Weekly – 2009
"Shurtz's performance is, indeed, an elegy, a theater-poem of Styron-esque insight and elegance. He describes his playwright mother as a poet, while his father was merely "poetical." He meets Jesus in the desert, a figure "with ebony eyes and crooked teeth," while Hamlet accompanies him for some of the drive across the expanse. Hamlet, he says, does not care for Shurtz's song honoring Ophelia. Shurtz performs all this with gentle, wistful intelligence while avoiding the morose or the melodramatic…"
The Arizona Republic - 2002
"Inside of Shurtz's tightly written ninety minute script, there's hardly time for the actors or the audience to breathe. As a result, Blue Baby screams from start to finish. This play provides an ideal vehicle for nitty gritty acting at its black box best, and Shurtz, Preston, and Trepasso measure up to Blue Baby's challenges."
Get Out Magazine – 2004
The Fish Must Die (Oct. 29-Nov. 14, iTheatre Collaborative) - Phoenix's best small theater for quirky, smart plays, iTheatre gives a little love to Arizona playwright Raymond King Shurtz by staging his "Waiting for Guffman"-meets-"Noises Off"-meets-"A Fish Called Wanda" comedy set backstage at a community theater.
The Arizona Republic - 1999
"With Carriages, Shurtz is in a loquacious mellow mood, taking an awful risk. It is ninety minutes of uninterrupted talk by fifteen actors that are so jammed together on the stage that they are barely able to move. It should be a disaster, it's actually something like wonderful!"
New Times – 1998 (Marshal Mason review, Founder and Artistic Director of Circle Rep in NYC)
"Best of all is the modulated, layered, four-dimensional characterization by Raymond King Shurtz as the central convict. His performance is so persuasive and detailed that it's hard to remember he's acting. Not since the stunning tour de force by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs have we had an opportunity to understand the intricacies of so complex a criminal…"
The Phoenix Gazette - 1994
"Blackout Blues is the work that Playwright's Theatre has been looking for since it began producing new work ten years ago. It is a serious play. It is a taut thriller. It is a play that sears the brain with its raw brutal quality. Shurtz's unstated playing of a man who must stay drunk to avoid the ghosts that haunt him is true, brilliant and eerie."
LOUNGE, the play, is scheduled to come into fruition January/February of 2013 at a cost of approximately $6,000.00. Below is a general approximation of the costs. The production team consists of Raymond King Shurtz, (the performer and writer) and a two week directed polish of the play by director Kurt Brungardt of NYC. Mr. Brungardt and Shurtz have collaborated on nine of Shurtz's projects, all of them produced and reviewed.The play will also need one technical person, but only for the theatrical premiere of the play. Afterwards, Mr. Shurtz will take on these duties himself, as the play is designed for ease of production (and open for the audience to see as part of the show).
The following is a general assessment of the costs, each area will stay within the budget restraints of the $6,000.00 budget. Each thousand dollars of the production costs, will equal a 10% share of the play. For example, a $4000,00 dollar investment will give the investor a 40% share of the play. A $2000,00 investment will give the investor a 20% share of the play. Mr. Shurtz will retain ownership of the other 40% share of the play. In the contract, Mr. Shurtz will also fully guarantee the investors money, regardless of the ticket sales or publication of the play. A full ten song recording of the show will also be recorded through Audioconfusion to be sold at the shows for $10. The investor money will be contracted through an LLC company, owned by Mr. Shurtz. The investors will receive monthly reports of the progress of the play, script copy, and receipts of expenses. When the show opens, investors will begin to receive immediate pay back for their investment in the form of percentages based on ticket and CD sales.
Equipment, props and costuming 3,000.00
Rehearsal and Theatre rental 1,000.00
Gen. expenses, transportation 1,000.00
Here are the ten songs that will be the infra structure of the script. There are five cover songs, whose history will be covered as part of the show. There are five original songs, written by the writer/performer, which will reveal more of a personal story. Here are the proposed ten songs.
- Crazy – written by Willie Nelson
- Bones – written by Raymond King Shurtz
- Hey Good Lookin' – written by Hank Williams
- San Cabo – written by Raymond King Shurtz
- Wild Horses – written by Mick Jagger
- Boulder – written by Raymond King Shurtz
- Turn the Page – written by Bob Seger
- Best Western – written by Raymond King Shurtz
- Blue Moon – written by Hart and Rogers
- A Good Man on a Bad Roll – written by Raymond King Shurtz
Interested parties can contact me at my email. Rshurtz57@gmail.com