WELCOME TO THE
'KC, MY KAREN'
SHOW INTRODUCTION PACK
This webpage is designed to be a brief but informative show introduction to the original musical, KC, MY KAREN featuring music sung by The Carpenters. For all additional information regarding marketing & publicity, technical & staging specifications, budgets, logistics, bibles, etc. please Contact Us.
Please note that this page is password protected and that you are requested to not share this with anyone as it is intended
for the exclusive use of the production personnel of KC, MY KAREN and its employees, partners and investors.
Below please find (Please click for easy navigation):
Introduction: The emotional heart of the KC, MY KAREN story and its purpose.
Poster & Plot Overview
Behind the Scenes: Developing an original musical during a Pandemic
Music: Selection of Demo Songs from our upcoming Album
As the production is currently in development, no production images are available as of yet. Kindly check back to this page regularly as we will continually update the page with images as development continues.
THE MUSIC. THE VOICE. THE CARPENTERS.
At the heart of KC, MY KAREN is the music...
Composed and arranged by her brother, Richard, this smooth, velvety easy sound bridged the gap between old and young audiences in the 70’s in America and became a global sensation. Karen Carpenter, with her iconic voice and musical acumen has placed her as one of the best female vocalists of all time.
Very few are aware that Karen was a formidable drummer and a bright and comic entertainer. Most only know her as the singer who died of complications from an eating disorder, but to this creative team her story was so much bigger than her tragic and publicly sensationalised end.
This story is inspired by true events and facts about the Carpenters that resonated with the authors.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
The Distortion of reality:
Karen developed an eating disorder characterised by severe weight loss and a distorted body image. The reflection she saw in the mirror was grotesque despite being adored and revered by many. Her mental well-being was left fractured. This sense of being broken apart is a theme revealed in the staging and the sets as you see the action unfold. We cover a span of 15 years of her life with her brother, Richard - the busiest and most active years in their career. But, in keeping with this theme, the story in non chronological and fragmented. The music is stripped down and then built up again much like the journey she went through with her fluctuating weight.
Perception and reality:
At some point each character shares their perception of Karen. Their opinions are all unique and as such also provide other fragments or angles of the same reality. This is seen in the script when at some point, each character talks about Karen by saying things like: “My Karen…”, or “the Karen I knew…”
An image obsessed world:
Karen is anxious about her photos in the press; Richard mentions his discomfort at the images that were taken and used for The Carpenters; The photographer in the piece provides commentary about his job becoming a cog in the media machine that was manipulating the image for commercial gain. The photograph has evolved into a perversion of what pictures were originally meant to signify. Instead of being an artifact of history, a moment frozen in time, photographs have become weapons of commercial conditioning. The demands on the Carpenters’ reinforced commercialised, cookie-cutter ideals to a mass of fans. “She wanted to be beautiful. Ideals should just be ideas”, says one of the characters in the piece.
Sibling relationships and rivalry:
Whilst Karen's mother is a crucial part of the person she became, her most profound bond was with her brother Richard. The siblings grow together, play together, tour together, and even envy one another. They are fiercely protective of one another when scrutinised by the press. They are not only brother and sister, but colleagues, business partners and confidants.
When Karen and Richard are performing, they are in their element. The chaos and discord that surrounds them is no longer and the language of the music is what defines the core strength of these protagonists and their bond. The music lifts these ordinary siblings into a realm of exceptional talent and success.
Karen is bright, funny and charming. Her playful nature is infectious. Her energy and charisma is what was lost when she became ill. Although inescapable, It was important to me to write a story about someone's life, and not someone’s death. We celebrate the music; the girl behind the picture; the reflection of the mirror today.
A SNEEK PEEK
"We have been given the gift of time. I don't see Covid as a reason to not work. Quite the opposite."
- Jaco van Rensburg | Executive Producer: VR Theatrical
Our team has been hard at work behind the scenes and we are now ready to take the next steps in terms of development.
See the brief EPK below.
KC, MY KAREN
- A MUSICAL
FEATURING THE MUSIC AND THE LIFE STORY OF KAREN CARPENTER
Stories are a dime a dozen. But not this one.
The show is fragmented and non chronological. There are moments of Karen Carpenter’s life that are told in between the soft sweet sounds of the music that was written and arranged by her brother, Richard. We meet Karen’s mother and father. Her mother played a significant part in her timeline. Whilst providing a contentious part of the story, we encounter the family dynamics of the Carpenters. Karen had several love interests in her life and we meet them. We see how each relationship further elevated Karen’s career and personal story. The photographers and producers that were constantly in the periphery of her life provide commentary on how Karen was affected by the whirlwind of fame and success. We span 15 years of her story allowing the audience to put the pieces of Karen’s picture together. Most notably, we meet Karen - endearing, charming and charismatic Karen.
BEHIND THE SCENES
DEVELOPING AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL
FEATURING THE MUSIC AND THE LIFE STORY OF KAREN CARPENTER
During lockdown, artists were restricted from performing, but there was room for many creatives to start developing new ideas. Actors became writers; writers became pod-casters; musicians became music consultants; the list goes on. At the core of the loss of income and opportunity, there was a need to tell more stories about the human experience and mental health.
Whilst mental health has become less of a taboo, it is still heavily stigmatised. Whilst people are able to talk about it openly, they choose not to because of the shame attached to it. Depression, anxiety, and panic rose significantly in the last years and what we as creatives aim to do is to provide a relatable and entertaining story about a well known duo of singers. Karen’s life story has the potential to be a perfect vehicle to communicate this message to a society looking to feel less alone.
AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN STAR PLAYING KAREN: SHARON SPIEGEL-WAGNER
Sharon is a South African actress and musician who has credits that start from children’s theatre all the way to international musicals. She also has featured on the screen both locally in television and film, as well as international series and films released in the UK, Canada and the States.
As a young girl, Sharon was exposed to the sounds of the Carpenters. It was music that brought her family together. It was joyous, sweet and easy to listen to. She has been a fan of Karen Carpenter since then. There was something about Karen that Sharon found relatable and interesting. Sharon has a keen ear for music and studied classical piano and singing from a very young age. She studied dramatic art, film, literature and creative writing at Wits university and continued to train in musical theatre. From the training she undertook, she extended her vocal range and abilities as an actress. In order to more accurately inhabit the role of Karen Carpenter, Sharon decided to learn how to drum. So, during lockdown, she made the decision to finally write this project and become Karen Carpenter.
Sharon has written plays, scripts, kids theatre shows, school productions and musicals. She even wrote a children’s book about a fairy princess and a dinosaur who was her best friend. Recently, Sharon has written a play for the national grahamstown arts festival which won a standing ovation award. Sharon is also completing a rap slam poetry series which she will launch in 2022 and is currently assisting in writing a screenplay for a local movie. She simply couldn’t wait any longer to finally write about her female idol - Karen Carpenter and can’t wait to tell this story.
TOURING 2022 AND BEYOND
The show is specifically designed to tour easily and to be very light-on-its-feet with minimal set-up and strike time. A modular design is being commissioned in order for it to be adjusted to differently sized stages in different territories.
For all additional technical and staging specifications, MC, MY KAREN Bibles, riders and all logistical information please Contact Us.
The show is rated PG12 - include strong language, and adult themes.
We are currently looking to partner with interested international Venues, Investors or Production Partners to stage a developmental run of KC, MY KAREN in 2022 once the Covid-19 Pandemic has subsided after which extensive touring will commence in 2023, starting with a developmental run in Johannesburg (Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre).
THE #MYKARENFAMILY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE
KC, MY KAREN COME TO LIFE EVERY NIGHT:
MEET THE FAMILY
KC, MY KAREN has a cast of 12 (including 2 swings) and is performed with professionally pre-recorded backing tracks
and a Touring Crew of 4 (not including set up and tech crew), making it the perfect touring production
to keep financial margins profitable for all investors and production partners.
Actors for the upcoming Development Run and Touring Cast will be auditioned in South Africa.
Our story is centred around 3 main characters: Karen Carpenter (the demure, famous pop sensation), Richard Carpenter (her brother and musician-partner) The 3rd lead character is a Photographer, the show's observer and narrator, through who's lense we see the story unfold.
Karen is a charismatic and gifted singer and entertainer. She’s charming, witty and has a commanding presence wherever she goes. She is a highly skilled vocalist and drummer. She is a playful woman and has several love interests. Whilst being very ambitious, she is also plagued by insecurities around food, weight and her looks. She suffers from an eating disorder, as she tries to keep composed through her life and career. Her brother is Richard Carpenter and she is the daughter of Agnes and Harold Carpenter.
Karen’s brother. Richard is a formidable pianist and musician. He is the one that is responsible for most of the musical arrangements that put the carpenters on the map. Despite his talent, he is constantly overshadowed by his sister. He is the favourite child in the family.
Karen and Richard's mom. Particular, domineering and a bit cold. She is obsessed with cleaning, knitting, and other household activities. She believes in good home grown religious values. She supports both her children’s careers but has a contrived and complex relationship with her daughter.
THE SUPPORTING LEADS
As Karen's career grows more and more successful, her journey is enriched with a host of supporting characters. From the family she leaves behind, to the friends she meets along the way, to the community she joins when she becomes world-famous.
Karen and Richard’s father. Quiet. Supportive of Agnes and her ways. Devout father and husband.
'TERRY ELLIS/TOM BURRIS'
(Played by the same actor.)
Terry is a flamboyant and energetic music producer who falls deeply in love with Karen and wants her to move in with him.
Over the top California real estate agent. He’s a gold digger. He convinces Karen to marry him.
English gentleman. He falls in love with Karen. He’s kind, warm and loving.
'PHOTOGRAPHER/ PRODUCER /BANK EXECUTIVE'
(Played by the same actor)
The Photographer is taking pictures of the Carpenters, engaging with them, but mostly providing commentary on the narrative for the audience.
The Producer is giving information to Karen and Richard about the billboard hits and organising their public appearances. He provides the perspective of the world of show business to the audience.
The Bank Executive briefs the Carpenters on the jingle he hired them to create and sing.
He talks to Karen and her family about her condition. Not a major role, but needs to posess a sense of gravitas.
'WARDROBE LADY / TALK SHOW HOST'
This track will play various characters and have to be able to portray a good range of dialects.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
This appointment has not yet been announced and is strictly confidential.
Musical Direction by
Wardrobe Design and Coordination by
Scenic Painting by
(Scene Visual Productions)
Lighting Design by
Musical Staging and Choreography by
TIMOTHY LE ROUX
Orchestrations and Musical Arrangements by
Sound Design by
Technical Management by
(The Proper Prop Shop)
Musical Staging and Choreography by
TIMOTHY LE ROUX
Technical Management by
SHARON SPIEGEL-WAGNER AND ALAN SWERDLOW
KEYART AND HERO DESIGN
Posters, Banners, Billboards, Flyers and Programme Templates for KC, MY KAREN are currently being developed alongside the final production identity.
A phased online marketing strategy is currently being developed and includes an integrated approach using Website, multiple Social Media platforms, Vlogs, Blogs and Newsletters to support local Above The Line marketing campaigns.
Building KC, MY KAREN was, and continues to be an incredible journey - between multiple rewrites, breaking a new creative path and the unflinching pursuit of authenticity and meaning - it is an exhilarating theatrical adventure!
Throughout our process we are endlessly grateful to our Development Team and Production Partners and Investors who make the work we do possible - even during a pandemic!
We look forward to staging the production and moving this venture forward into the next exciting phase: Production.
The musical orchestrations and arrangements of KC, MY KAREN is extremely varied and draws on multiple influences, but is unified by a contemporary musical theatre sound. Evergreen, memorable ballads and iconic uptempo classics get a new theatrical treatment to introduce a new generation of listeners to the incredible hits as made famous by the Carpenters. With a fresh sonic palette and a modern edge that is the VR Theatrical signature, these timeless classics will be introduced to a new theatrical audience.
Every voice on the KC, MY KAREN Cast is chosen with care as each has a critical role to play in the small ensemble to make up the powerful 6-part vocal arrangements and the melodies come alive, night after night ensuring that the songs stay with the audience long after they have left the theatre.
Every arrangement was carefully constructed in order to ensure that the music is an epic emotional experience for the audience.
Orchestration Includes: Classic upright and grand pianos, vintage 70's organ sounds, orchestral winds, brass & strings, Latin American percussion and jazz band sounds.
Please Note: T he Covid-19 lockdowns interrupted our recording schedule and has made our recording processes incredibly challenging, sometimes impossible. KC, MY KAREN has 20 Songposts and we continue to complete these recordings - remotely where possible. Completed Recordings will be added and swapped out as swiftly as possible. In the meantime we have included some rough demo versions and scratch recordings for reference. Please note that this means that we cannot guarantee our usual quality production standards across every song and clip for now.
Below please find selected full-length Scratch Demo Recordings sung by the talented Sharon Spiegel-Wagner.
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The Concept and Book of KC, MY KAREN was developed under the auspices VR Theatrical (Pty) Ltd.
Copyright © 2021 - 2022 VR Theatrical (Pty) Ltd, who owns the concept and Grand Rights for all international stagings.
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