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On September 24, Melissa will take center stage at The Pico Theater.


What started out as a charming story about writer/producer/performer Melissa Center's mom's dream for her daughter has grown into a mission: to preserve the power of theater and to persevere in the face of COVID. The world needs artists in order to survive - to shed light on the human experience and to speak the truth - The Show Must Go On!

On September 24, 2020 at 6:15 PM PST, Melissa will take center stage at The Pico Theater in Los Angeles, CA to perform her original solo show, "Melissa Center is...Marrying Jake Gyllenhaal." The catch? The "groom" may or may not show up, and Melissa will be performing to an empty theater.

"Melissa Center is...Marrying Jake Gyllenhaal," inspired by Melissa's mom's REAL LIFE conviction that she should marry the A-list star, follows the journey of a single-woman who yearns for success in life and love, but finds herself encountering obstacle after obstacle along the way. The question remains - is Jake actually the answer to her problems?

The truth will be revealed inside an actual theater, performed in real-time, and streamed to a nation-wide audience: Since theaters are dark for the foreseeable future, Melissa & her team were determined to fill the void by giving theater enthusiasts the closest to a live theatrical experience as possible. The core of our team's mission is more than bringing a good show to audiences, but also to create jobs and opportunity for out of work artists and technical engineers. Profits from the ticket sales will go directly to The Indie Theater Fund in NYC, providing financial relief to artists most affected by Covid-19, and The JaQuel Knight Foundation, who will provide meals for artists-in-need via EveryTable.

The origins of this project have as much spirit as the story itself. At the inaugural Seed&Spark Creative Sustainability Summit in LA, Melissa was selected to pitch her story to Mark Duplass and a room of 400 enthusiastic storytellers. With full support, Melissa then recruited up-and-comer Michelle Bossy as director, and other talented producers, designers & musicians. Shortly thereafter the play was accepted to premiere at The Edinburgh International Fringe Festival 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the largest theater festival in the world, and launching pad for artists like Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag fame.

Says Center, "All signs pointed to - MAKE THIS SHOW HAPPEN in a big, bold way! The support I received at the conference was overwhelming, and I knew this story had the power to connect to audiences on a deep level. And if I met Jake along the way,

Then Covid devastated the world. As the virus spread, theaters everywhere cancelled all performances and closed their doors to audiences. Covid not only threatened the health and livelihood of artists, but it threatened art itself.

Upon hearing the news that theaters might not open until 2021, Melissa & her team were devastated. But because the show must go on, "Team Jake" persisted. After weeks of uncertainty, producer Jordan Ancel suggested that we harness the power of technology and innovate the live theater experience while at the same time, ensuring this play could also be in service to artists in need. And so the group of determined artists decided to forge ahead with theater production, in a safe & unique way.

Despite the high number of unemployment, shuttering businesses and the instability of the world's economy, "Melissa Center is...Marrying Jake Gyllenhaal" was able to raise 50% of targeted funds on day one of the campaign on Seed&Spark's crowdsourcing platform. This massively confirmed how hungry audiences are for art, and how eager they are to champion the creative process.

With the incredible success of our fundraising, our innovation, and commitment to forging ahead in the face of obstacles, we hope "Melissa Center is Marrying Jake Gyllenhaal" will inspire other storytellers to find new ways to share their vision with the world.

"From the moment I read the script, I was excited by Melissa's voice and the opportunity to bring this play to the stage. She is truly a performer that does it all - sings, dances, acts, makes you laugh, and breaks your heart. Now, with Covid, I have a new chance to combine two of my loves - theater and film directing - and I am thrilled to bring you Melissa Center...IS MARRYING Jake Gyllenhaal in this new format." - Michelle Bossy

What starts out as her mom's pesky fantasy (mild-moderate, OK, MAJOR obsession) becomes a full-on mission as Melissa, single, strugglin and *cough cough* approaching 40 searches for love (and Jake Gyllenhaal).

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