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'Triple Espresso' eyes Off-Broadway run with Kickstarter campaign

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The creative members behind the long-running Minnesota-based theater production "Triple Espresso" are setting their sights on the Big Apple.

"Triple Espresso" executive producer Dennis Babcock told WCCO radio's John Williams Tuesday that the production is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to stage the show in an Off-Broadway venue in New York City.

The G-rated production is a vaudeville-style show about a trio of performers trying to revive their careers. It staged at the Music Box Theater in Minneapolis for 13 years before closing in 2008, and also had an 11-year run in San Diego.

In total, it the production has played in 50 cities worldwide the last 17 years, and still does holiday performances in the Twin Cities. Babcock told Williams that of the 2 million tickets sold for the performance during its various runs, 650,000 were sold to performances in the Twin Cities area.

The Kickstarter goal for "Triple Espresso's" Off-Broadway campaign is $300,000, which would enable the production to do a 12-week run beginning in the fall.

According to the Kickstarter pitch, the funding would go toward the theater rent, a new set, lighting and sound design, as well as cast salaries, housing, crew fees, script tweaking and publicity.

Babcock told the Star Tribune earlier this month that he's been in discussions with the Triad Theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The theater has been home to some of Broadway's longest-running productions, including "Forever Plaid."

If the show makes it to Off-Broadway, Babcock says he wants the success of "Triple Espresso" to extend beyond New York City.

"If we get to New York and have a good run, that will ensure us that we will be able bring 'Triple Espresso' to the Twin Cities and other cities around the United States and the world, hopefully, for years to come," Babcock told Williams.

The "Triple Espresso" Kickstarter campaign runs through March 15.

The use of crowdfunding portals for theater productions isn't all that unusual.

A Kickstarter spokesman told the Star Tribune that since the site began in 2009, $13.25 million has been pledged to theater projects. In all 2,560 projects were successfully funded, and half of those happened in 2012.

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