Dramedy-Musical On Its Way!
Last updated 1/27/2022 at 9:18am
In the Jan. 6 issue of the Borrego Sun, we published a short press release on an upcoming play titled, “Panthers,” by none other than Borrego Sun contributing writer and playwright, Michael Sadler.
On Jan. 1, he launched a 31-day fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com to help him reach his first goal – a Panthers Premier production of one-to-three full performances, depending on funding.
Sadler is a Playwright-Director for 15 years with dozens of produced plays, from one-act comedies and dramas to a full-length comedy, mostly in Los Angeles. He has also written two published novels and five unproduced full-length screenplays.
Sadler currently resides in Borrego, and has been a journalist for six years with the Borrego Sun, having written hundreds of articles on subjects near and dear to local residents.
Previously, he was a Former General Building Contractor in Los Angeles specializing in seismic retrofits for homes and buildings; Research Associate on energy and environmental issues for SRI-International in Washington, DC, with reports generated for use by federal agencies; Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara, and an Associate of Science Degree from Santa Barbara Community College; U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman, grade E-5, with one-year service in Vietnam as Triage corpsman.
Borrego Sun: Give us a synopsis of “Panthers”
Sadler: The play focuses on Charley and Serena (Caucasian, 18 – 21 in human years) who embark on an adventure up Misty Mountain in the central highlands of Mexico to witness the annual migration of Monarch butterflies. They are followed by a large, quirky bird, Tuke the Toucan (Hispanic), who provides comic relief in the play. They are also followed covertly by a disobedient Nora (Korean) who was told by Serena to stay home; Nora later becomes captured in the net of unseen human animal hunters (See cast photo and end of my video). As the adventure in their jungle world unfolds, and by using positive messaging in both dialogue and musical numbers, each of the four characters, but especially Charley, come to a better understanding of the true meaning of friendship, and yes, even possibilities for romance and love; that last aspect is presented tastefully and with a keen eye towards the sensitivity of kids with different levels of maturity. Memorable lyrics and melody with positive messaging for kids is the focus of Panthers, and all the songs can be performed either with piano accompaniment or even a Capella.
Sun: What is the genre of the play?
Sadler: “Panthers” is a one-hour Dramedy-Musical for school kids K-12. While all of my stage plays so far have been targeted at an adult audience, I’m now working on a project that will offer unique characters in a unique story for school kids. “Panthers” is also meant to be a learn-through-entertainment experience tailored specifically for a “short attention-span theater” audience. There is no sex or violence in the Panthers, suggested or implied. Dialogue in Panthers spans multiple levels of maturity for school-age kids, and the music and lyrics are simple but memorable.
Sun: Tell us about the actors chosen to play the roles in “Panthers”
Sadler: The actors in my 4-character stage play are purposefully diverse, reflecting a multicultural school environment these days. I happen to know something about the issue of character because I’m a playwright. I have dozens of produced stage plays – comedies and dramas – that depend on successfully developing unique characters on the page, who then later serve to establish connections with a live theater audience.
I’m also very excited about working with committed, professional young adult actors in the cast, as well as with a highly qualified and experienced production team involved.
Sun: How does it feel to have this play finally moving along after your 10-year conquest?
Sadler: This project not only offers me the opportunity to expand my audience, but also to finally check off the top priority on my “bucket list.” I’ll be 73-years old in January, folks, and not getting any younger! Panthers may well serve as my legacy, hopefully an enduring one, for kids now and in the future.
I am truly excited about this project and care deeply about role models for kids growing up. I’ve had them, you’ve had them. School-age kids need to receive a constant re-affirmation of their individual personality in relation to who they hope of becoming, and that those hopes are being constantly reinforced. Role models – for kids and adults, real and fictitious – are all about character. Panthers speaks (and sings) to that, and more
Sun: Where are you in the production stages?
Sadler: The project is currently at a late stage of development. The script and music are written and protected by copyright. The actors are cast, having had six great rehearsals, but they require a minimum of three more prior to the Premier. And the production team is on standby, ready to go.
Sun: What are some of the downsides or risks you are taking with this play?
Sadler: Risks are low (but I suppose statistically possible) of not finishing this project given its production progress to date and a conservative campaign financing goal. I am not starting from scratch but rather, with scripts and music finished and copyrighted, a professional cast in place, and an experienced production crew on standby, and I should reach my production objectives and goals rather quickly.
Also low on the risk-assessment scale are cast and production personnel themselves, all firmly committed to this production. However, individuals might drop out due to injury, sickness, or other unforeseen circumstances, and therefore replacements will need to be found.
Sun: What happens after the Kickstarter project phase ends?
Sadler: My newly-formed company, Blazer Theatrical LLC, should be fully certified and ready to take up a second phase of our long-term goals for Panthers. This involves business opportunities going forward, for example by adding performances with our cast and crew in the Los Angeles theater market.
Sun: Putting on a play can be costly, how are your fundraising efforts coming along?
Sadler: At the present time, I do not have the funds to move towards an actual Premier, so I am asking donors for $13,500 in financial assistance. It’s a conservative budget, but it’s realistic considering what’s being provided at no cost to the Campaign. I firmly believe this level of funding will get us to the Panthers finish line – the Premier Performance date(s) of Panthers hopefully before the end of Spring 2022. Please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blz/panthers-a-1-hr-dramedy-musical-for-school-kids-k-12
Sun: How can people get in touch with you?
Sadler: For any questions regarding a local production of Panthers, please feel free to contact myself directly. Email: email@example.com or visit http://www.blazertheatrical.com/performance-rights.html.