Burning Man: The Musical

Some New York veteran Burners are raising funds on Kickstarter to create Burning Man: The Musical. Inspired by Book of Mormon, it will feature songs like “My Sparkle Pony” and “The Only Black Man In Black Rock City”.


from Kickstarter.com:

Burning Man: The Musical is a Book of Mormon-style musical that celebrates the ecstasy and agony of Burning Man, an annual festival of community, self-expression and radical self-reliance in the desert of Nevada.

About the musical

The story is driven by a 25-year old white guy named Joe. He’s a techie who lives in San Francisco and commutes down to Silicon Valley. He’s been driven his whole life by external validation, and does anything he can to get ahead–no matter how many people he has to burn along the way.

But, when Joe finally gets to Burning Man, his lofty ambitions to network with high-powered executives are not met. Between getting dumped by his girlfriend, dancing with sparkle ponies, and nearly dying while on a vision quest in the desert, he reaches a real low.

In the midst of this low, the acceptance, connection, and playfulness he experiences at Burning Man make him start to question his past life of ambition and power in Silicon Valley. The sharing economy and free spirits he meets in the desert make him wonder–is his real mission in life just to make money? Or is it maybe to authentically connect with others and help others?

Will Joe make it out of the desert remaining a power-hungry douchebag? Or will the heat, dust, art cars, dancing and kind strangers allow him to get back in touch with the heart and soul of his younger self? You’ll find out if you contribute to this Kickstarter project.

About this campaign

We’re in New York City developing this musical with Broadway and off-Broadway actors, as well as veteran Burners. This campaign is to raise funds to create a 5 minute video of the beginning of the musical to post on YouTube by August 30–the start of Burning Man. If we raise more than that, our stretch goal is to put on a short production of the opening number at Burning Man itself this year. If we exceed this stretch goal, the extra funds will help us as we enter the second phase of the development process and write and record the love song “My Sparkle Pony,” and the satirical song “The Only Black Man in Black Rock City.” Based on the reception of this opening number, we will develop a timeline to create the full production.

Collaborate with us!

We’d love to hear your ideas, and collaborate on this project with you. Please email us at burningmanthemusical@gmail.com.

Thanks for your help, and we look forward to seeing you on the playa!

Disclaimer: Burning Man: The Musical is the working title for this piece. This is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the Burning Man Project, but is a satirical theater piece celebrating the festival and its unique impact on American culture.

Risks and challenges

Because musicals take so long to develop (Book of Mormon took 7 years from concept to opening night), we’ve set a defined, achievable goal for this Kickstarter project. We’re not using this project to fund the creation of the entire musical (as that’s a multi-year project and very costly). Instead, we’re creating a 5-minute video of the opening number and posting it to YouTube. This will set the scene for the musical, introduce the main cast and score for the piece. Based on the reception of this opening number, we will come up with a roadmap and timeline to develop the full production.

This project will require many people to work on tight deadlines to deliver the final product by August 30, 2015. We need to record the opening song in a professional studio, choreograph the opening number, and film it professionally with Broadway and off-Broadway actors. We luckily have access to the YouTube Creator Space NYC, connections with the New York theater scene, and a track record of delivering on Kickstarter projects on time.

For our prior Kickstarter projects, see:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattwerner/oakland-in-popular-memory-book-project

11 comments on “Burning Man: The Musical

  1. Pingback: Google Employee Creating Burning Man Musical | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. It’s been done, y’all….. http://www.burningopera.com/home/ — and without direct techie funding by a bunch of amazing artists working on their own dimes as a collective of passionate, driven, inspired burners from all over. I was lucky to be an extension of their family. It was quite a show — running sold out shows at Teatro ZinZanni in SF. Check it out & let’s bring THAT production back to life!

  3. “If we raise more than that, our stretch goal is to put on a short production of the opening number at Burning Man itself this year.”

    Oh, please. If you want to make a film about douchebags going to Burning Man, you could do it for free by simply turning the camera around. Try getting Radically Self-Reliant….and buy your own damn ticket.

    • Excellent Point, Erik! They’re telling the story from Jim Tanabaum’s POV when they should be making a musical about Mistresses of Merriment, sherpas cleaning up porcelain shitters, wristband bar, vending and catering!!!

  4. A human interest story that will interest a couple thousand people half of who could not afford to go to the play anyway

  5. The first thought I had when I read the title of this article was: “It’s been done, and it’s called ‘The Producers’.” Then I read about the story, and think it does have potential as a story. I think The Borg will ultimately try to kill the artwork, but not before letting the artists pour their and lots of others’ money, blood, sweat, and tears into it, then feed off the schadefreude for NPD supplies. My best hope for these artists is that they’re veteran NY Burners. Remember that NYC no longer has an official Decompression event, so it’s possible they’re already familiar with Borg fuckery.

    • any idea why “NYC no longer has an official Decompression event”?
      seems like a large burner community. probably the 3rd biggest in the USA?

  6. This seems like it would be funny, but fuck the constant stream of Kickstarter projects. Jesus Christ already.

  7. This is awesome! Like the Opera on the playa, turning participants into spectators before their very eyes. If you give Burners enough rope, they will all hang themselves on the stage.

    “Hey guise! We can make money at this! Yeah, do it for a living, I know right?

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