Antony and Cleopatra: Groundbreaking GableStage Production Seeks a Kick-start

Nobody, apparently, is too big for Kickstarter. Public figures such as Spike Lee, Zach Braff, and Marina Abramovic have all taken to the crowdfunding website recently, where they've raised up to $3 million for their offbeat artistic ventures. But the site wasn't exactly created with the whims of eccentric millionaires in mind; it's best utilized to bolster up the little guys, the nonprofits, the dot-orgs that would otherwise rely on public grants and a select few angel investors to survive. To that end, there may be no better Kickstarter campaign to which to donate this holiday season than GableStage, the area's most consistently rewarding nonprofit professional theater.

GableStage is currently using Kickstarter to raise $55,000 for its upcoming production of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Antony and Cleopatra - with a Knight Foundation grant covering much of the rest.

It's a first for GableStage, and to my knowledge, a first for professional theater in South Florida, and there's good reason for that: Antony and Cleopatra is being produced on an unprecedented scale. It's a coproduction between GableStage, New York's Public Theatre, and London's Royal Shakespeare Company, whose organizations will share cast and crew members in mounting this dynamic, globetrotting piece. It will make its U.S. debut here in Gables before its New York engagement.

By even being mentioned in the same breath as the Public and the RSC, GableStage has seen its stature blossom well beyond that of a regional theater, but that's almost the easy part. Realizing McCraney's stripped-down vision, which transports Shakespeare's romance to the sun-backed eve of the Haitian revolution, will take all the dollars it can get. In addition to its monthlong run at the Colony Theatre starting in January, Antony and Cleopatra will also be performed for free to thousands of Miami-Dade public school students in special morning shows - the component for which this Kickstarter funding is vital.

At the time of this writing, only $1,410 have been raised courtesy of 10 backers; unclaimed pledge prizes include signed playbills, tickets to the production, and a dinner and conversation with GableStage producing artistic director Joe Adler. Pledgers have until Dec. 21 to donate. So let's go, Miami - empty those wallets!

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