Given the public's seemingly endless appetite for musical adaptations of popular films, it's a mystery that, to our knowledge, we haven't arrived here sooner: "Showgirls." The musical.
Sure, to call "Showgirls" -- a notorious, so-bad-it's-good box-office flop that ground then-budding Elizabeth Berkley's young film career to a halt -- "popular" is a bit of a stretch, but the story of Nomi's Las Vegas showgirl aspirations has since earned the distinction of cult film royalty. The film also, arguably, inspired more modern films like the critically-acclaimed "Black Swan."
The accidental camp classic has inspired two men -- John-Ryan Griggs, of Chicago, and Chad D. Comer, who currently lives in Nashville -- to come together with the hopes of setting the stripper-centric fairy tale to music, on a Windy City stage this fall.
In order to help get their production off the ground, Griggs and Comer have launched a Kickstarter. HuffPost recently spoke with the duo about their campaign.
HuffPost: First, tell me a bit about where you guys come at this project from -- have you done anything similar to this before, basically building a musical from the ground up?
John-Ryan Griggs: I remember sending Chad a text and I was like “Showgirls the Musical." What do you think?” Within a week we were drafting logos.
Chad D. Comer: Neither one of us have produced a musical, but John is an art director, and I’m and event coordinator, so we’re just repurposing our skills to a new medium. There are definitely aspects of the show where we have had to do a lot of homework, but we’re good like that.
(Scroll down to watch the Kickstarter preview film for "Showgirls the Musical.")
HP: What inspired you to tackle this project of a "Showgirls" musical in the first place?
JG: Showgirls is our favorite movie—we just can’t get enough of it. Making a parody of it with “Showgirls the Musical” is our way of maybe re-inventing or giving new life to something that so many people already love and have a passion for. The film is almost like a religion in a sick way and “Showgirls the Musical” is like The New Testament for trash cinema.
HP: What is it about "Showgirls," the movie, do you think has the perfect makings for a musical adaptation?
CC: It’s all about the camp factor. The movie was meant to be a drama and they botched that really bad. So bad that everyone either wrote it off as horrible, or loved it because it was so bad. The only thing funnier than a stripper -- lap-dancing her way to the top, who is trying to be taken seriously -- is having her do so in a musical number. You can’t tell me that’s not hilarious!
HP: Do you remember first seeing the film? What was your first impression?
JG: I remember sneaking into the theater when it was first released because I was too young to be allowed into an NC-17 show. I remember being so excited from all the tantalizing press around the film. When I finally saw the movie I instantly loved it. I think it was much later, as I grew older that I realized what “camp” was, and that was kinda what made the film so magical for me.
HP: Can you give me a bit more of a glimpse into what the musical will look and sound like? What are you guys envisioning?
CC: Our story takes place in Las Vegas, so there will be a lot of razzle dazzle and tons of neon and glitter. We are keeping the set minimal, but using projections because we both think the typical “black box” theater can be a little tedious and certainly doesn’t fit our story. As for music, we’re pulling from the past few decades -- the show will definitely be influenced by rock, but bottom line, it’s camp, so there’s a certain amount of pop we’re gonna have to reference.
HP: Your $2,500 goal seems quite low for a production of this type -- I'm sure your costs would actually be higher, yes?
JG: The $2,500 goal is our last stretch to cover the “bones” of theater rental and stuff like that. We are lucky to have a team of not only talented, but also generous people who are able to help us avoid a lot of the costs associated with a perhaps more traditional project. We also have planned for a very limited run, at least initially. As the amount we raise grows, so do our production expectations—more of everything! If reception for the project is positive, then we can rework our “equation” for a longer-term project.
HP: Beyond the Kickstarter, what is the game plan for bringing this show to life in the months ahead?
JG: As soon as we hot our Kickstarter goal, we can finalize our theater details and begin casting. The script is in great shape, and just needs some tweaking, so I feel like all that will come to fruition very quickly. The production stuff will take place in unison with the beginning of our marketing and publicity efforts, so we’ll be busy, but we are itchy to get the ball rolling.
As of Friday, the "Showgirls" musical Kickstarter campaign has raised $1,800 of their $2,500 fundraising goal -- with 13 days to go in the campaign. Click here to learn more about the production and learn how to help turn it into a reality.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a Chicago area-based Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project that you'd like to see featured in our "Can They Kick It?" series.WATCH the "Showgirls the Musical" Kickstarter campaign video: