With help from Kickstarter.com, Dennis Corsi launches Touch Your Soul Productions
Friday, July 8 — Almost everyone has looked up to the stars and seen that distant, glittering pie in the sky. However, Michigan State University senior Dennis Corsi is doing more than dreaming about his goals — he started his own company.
Touch Your Soul Productions, founded in May, has a clear purpose. “I want to use theater to affect people and to make a difference,” Corsi said.
The first project Corsi is tackling is a musical called “Bare,” which is near and dear to his heart. “I heard the musical for the first time about three years ago on a CD, and I fell in love with it right away,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘One day I want to direct that.’ This musical is what encouraged me and made me want to start my own production company, and lot of things I believe in and my philosophy are contained in the show.”
“Bare” focuses on the stories and struggles of a group of students in their senior year at a Catholic high school, and their journeys through self-exploration and discovery. It also addresses homosexuality and the conflicts and social stigmas surrounding it, such as bullying, family issues and acceptance.
Although Corsi had a well-defined direction and mindset for his group, there was still one obstacle he was struggling to overcome: funding. He explained that since Touch Your Soul Productions is still a fledgling organization, it does not have an established set of resources and money it can draw from to begin the first project.
“Our biggest challenge has been raising money, and before we can start a show we need to pay for the rights and royalties. About $1,300 is needed just to get the scripts for first show,” he noted.
In an effort to remedy this problem, Corsi posted his company on Kickstarter.com, a website that helps raise funds for creative projects. The site supports a database of profiles, videos and information about numerous projects that are in need of money, as well as their financial goals and the current amounts the backers have raised.
Now, Corsi’s Kickstarter page has a positive message: “This project will be funded on Sunday, July 10, 11:59 a.m. EDT.”
In the last week, Corsi explained Touch Your Soul “kicked it into high gear” to find the rest of the $2,300 target. “We had a wide range of people who supported us,” Corsi said. “The ones we were most proud of, we had the original director of ‘Bare’ and one of the original cast members contributing. And, obviously, we had some friends and family. There was also Spiral Dance Club and a donation from an organization on campus called the Transforming Theatre Ensemble.”
Corsi’s involvement with theater and acting extends back to his days in elementary school. He’s studying theater and media arts and technology at MSU while pursuing a career in the world of stagecraft. However, simply participating in the creative process of theater was not enough for him; he decided that he wanted to take a more hands-on and involved approach to the industry.
“I wanted more influence and power over what shows I would work on, and by creating my own thing, I could do the shows I wanted,” he explained.
With Touch Your Soul Productions, Corsi plans to focus on shows and productions that deal with heavy social issues, such as discrimination, self-discovery, gender and sexual identities. “Although theater is, in a lot of ways, for entertainment, I also think it has a really great power to affect the way people think and see the world, and based on how I choose to direct the shows, I hope to open up people’s minds and change attitudes and behaviors.”
Casting for “Bare” has been completed and vocal rehearsals will begin in a few weeks.
“Before they were just ideas in my head, but with casting, I get to see my ideas visualized with actual people singing the roles,” Corsi said. “It’s a big moment for me because it means that it is real.”
The tentative dates for the production are Oct. 6-9, and it will be held in the RCAH theater on the MSU campus. Corsi plans to make the show free for students, if he can collect enough funds through other sources.
“We want to also include other events surrounding the show that provide further discussion and learning about some of the topics ‘Bare’ focuses on,” he added, although no specific activities are planned at this time.
More information about Corsi, “Bare” and Touch Your Soul Productions can be found online at touchyoursoulproductions.com