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Prizery aims to raise $25,000 for summer play, ‘Les Mis’ / April 14, 2014

For a second year, The Prizery is turning to Kickstarter, the all-or-nothing crowd-funding website, to support its Summer Theatre production of “Les Misérables” in July.

The campaign goal: $25,000 by Wednesday, May 7. Through Sunday at noon, 24 backers had chipped in $6,675.

“Young theatre students grow up with the dream of being in Les Misérables,”notes Prizery artistic director and Summer Theatre director Chris Jones. “When I first saw Les Misérables over 20 years ago, I thought about how exciting it would be to produce this show in our community one day.”

The play, based on the Victor Hugo classic and brought to the cinema screen most recently in 2012, yielding an Academy Award for Anne Hathaway, is one of the two shows on the Prizery’s Summer Theatre slate. The other is “Hairspray,” which will run from June 19 to July 5. “Les Miserables” will follow with shows July 11-20.

The Kickstarter campaign, titled “I Dreamed A Dream Project,” will help to defray the considerable costs of staging “Les Mis.” The Prizery will give 40 local theatre students and 20 professional theatre performers and theatre artists from outside the community the dream opportunity of creating the show. The young professionals will live in the community for seven weeks and help to mentor local theatre students. It’s a complex undertaking, from mastering the beautiful, passionate score to stitching each costume and painting each set piece — all beginning July 2, with the kickoff of rehearsals.

To help The Prizery’s 2014 summer season, visit the performing arts center’s website ( or Kickstarter ( and either click on the Kickstarter link or search for the “I Dreamed a Dream Project.” Visitors can access a short video with Jones explaining the benefits of Summer Theatre — including its economic and cultural impact in southern Virginia.

Under Kickstarter, only those projects that meet their goals are funded. Donors pledges are processed through Amazon Payments and the transactions are completed once the campaign goals have been met. Nearly half of all projects on Kickstarter have been successfully funded (59,736 out of more than 100,000 proposed). Among the successful campaigns: The Prizery’s 2013 “Oliver! Project,” which raised more than $20,000 for that summer stage production.

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