Speaking of successful Kickstarters based in Blacksburg, the group of Pi Kappa Alpha brothers from Virginia Tech who form the black-light illusion troupe Fighting Gravity raised $51,470 in May, providing seed money to start them down the path to a full-length stage show in New York.
Fighting Gravity competed in NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2010 as a lark and ended up placing third. Over the next couple of years, the group performed on television with the likes of Far East Movement, will.i.am and Jennifer Lopez.
The ultimate prize the winners compete for on “America’s Got Talent” is a full-length solo show in Las Vegas. Almost three years later, the men of Fighting Gravity have not yet performed a full-length show — they’ve mostly performed shows of 15 to 20 minutes at private or corporate events. The Kickstarter was aimed to give them the resources for the eventual creation of a 60- to 90-minute show, said troupe members Rob Grimm, 22, and Jordan Powers, 23.
Unlike the Lyric Theatre’s Kickstarter, which made its funding goal a week early, Fighting Gravity’s path to the $50,000 goal was a nail-biter. On May 12, with almost $20,000 still to go, the troupe announced that if the campaign reached $40,000 a single supporter had promised to donate the final $10,000. The Kickstarter reached $40,000 on May 20, the campaign’s final day.
While $50,000 isn’t enough to actually fund a show in the Big Apple, the money allows them to conduct workshops in New York to develop new stage stunts and pitch the show to potential investors, Powers said.
Despite all their showbiz experience, exploring a New York show is new turf for Fighting Gravity. “It’s definitely a more complex process than we thought it would be,” Powers said.