Utah Premiere of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Prompts Record-Breaking Kickstarter Funding Success

The response upon reaching a $5,000 Kickstarter funding goal?

"Shock and awe."

That was Michele Rideout's reaction when she learned that a record $5,000 had been raised for the Utah Repertory Theater Company/Silver Summit Theatre co-production of the Utah premiere of "August: Osage County."

"I was at rehearsal and realized there was nothing I could do about it as the campaign came down to the wire," said Rideout, founder and artistic director of Silver Summit Theatre who spearheaded the campaign, describing the nail-biting moments as the campaign went down to the wire.

"I turned it over to the Universe and accepted that it would either fund or not, and it was out of my hands. When I found out that it funded from the stage manager and then once I turned my phone back on, it was with shock and awe to realize that we made it."

While another theater company in Utah had previously raised an amount slightly larger than $5,000, it was for an entire season of productions. The $5,000 raised was designed only to fund "August: Osage County," resulting that in recent memory the funding was the most successful Kickstarter theater campaign for a single production in the state.

The most notable contribution came from a donor who had requested the "Date a Producer" benefit from the campaign. While the benefit only required a $100 donation, this benefactor pledged a total of $500 for an evening on the town with Johnny Hebda, founder and artistic director of Utah Repertory Theater Company.

Rideout explained that the enthusiasm for the production of the Tony-winning Broadway play is high, and that excitement propelled the Kickstarter funding.

"The campaign indicated that the 78 contributors believe this work and this story is important, and they believe in the artists creating it, and that Utah audiences are ready to put their money where their mouth is when they call for compelling work that isn't afraid to examine the human experience, the raw, uncensored, non-sanitized-for-mass-consumption, truth that is life," she said. "Maybe not my life, or your life, but someone's life, and by God, some of us are not afraid to get up close and personal with whatever that is.

"However, when I heard the news I was truly stunned," Rideout added. "Were it not for one of Silver Summit's biggest supporters who was watching the countdown and cared enough about us that she went back and changed her personal pledge to 29 percent of the funding goal, we would not have made it."

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From This Author Blair Howell