Rambling On

Anthony R. Cardno's Fiction and Commentary

Barry Mangione

As I said last post, I’ve promoted a lot of Kickstarters on here recently. It’s usually about books, and last post it was about sending theater students to Scotland. This one is a bit more personal than most.  While I’ve only known Barry Mangione for a couple of years, he has become a close friend and an inspiration. Even when I’m at my most self-deprecating (usually when attempting to write song lyrics), Barry believes in me, and I in turn believe in him.  His latest project is a bit of a departure for him, as well as being a summary of where he’s been the past few years and how he’s got to where he’s at now: mentally, physically, spiritually. Apply The GRAFT is going to be something new and unique, but it needs your help. I’ll post the Kickstarter and website links at the end, but first: read what Barry has to say about the project and how important it is to him.

ANTHONY: Let’s start off with a simple description: What is APPLY THE GRAFT?

BARRY: The GRAFT is interactive self-healing through music, visual art, and social media. It’s a story that starts with hitting rock bottom, continues through a healing process, and ends with finding happiness and love.

ANTHONY: Is APPLY THE GRAFT musical theater, or something different?

BARRY: It’s a live acoustic performance by musicians, so there are no actors in The GRAFT. The story is told through the music, the lyrics, and the videos that accompany the songs.

ANTHONY: How will the interactive component work?

BARRY: Throughout the show, the video screen displays questions for the audience to answer based on their own experiences. For example, “If you were given everything you needed to face one fear and conquer it, which fear would you face?” A Twitter account also appears on the screen (@applythegraft), and the audience is asked to Tweet their responses at that moment to that account. Someone monitoring the Twitter feed selects some of the audience’s responses, and then displays them on the screen for the entire audience to see and share.

ANTHONY: Does this mean that Twitter followers not in the theater can also take part in the experience?

BARRY: Anyone who happens to follow @applythegraft will see the Tweets that people are sending during the show, but since they’re not in the theater, they won’t see the questions prompting those Tweets. If someone is familiar with the show, the music, and the progression of the questions, it would be very interesting to follow along even if you’re not in the theater. I think it would be very interesting for someone who’s already seen the show to follow the performances on Twitter when they know the show is live.

ANTHONY: Something the Kickstarter video doesn’t really address: What happens on stage in between the nine musical numbers?

BARRY: Questions appear both during the songs and in between the songs. Some songs have an instrumental bridge that provides space for the questions to be displayed. Other songs don’t have that, so questions will be shown after or before those songs. For breaks in-between songs, the video being shown will be the focus of the show until the music starts up again.

ANTHONY: Tell us about the song-writing process for GRAFT.

BARRY: It was a therapeutic process for me. It started with the second song in the show, “I Wish I Had My Skin.” I had two other songs already written for other projects, but saw a link between them. When I decided to go with the GRAFT as a theme, I wrote songs around each of the themes and healing steps that make up The GRAFT: Gratitude, Ruthless honesty, Acceptance, Forgiveness, and Thoughtfulness. It was a different process for me, because I normally write individual songs. Writing several songs that would each tell their own story while also conveying a greater message was challenging!

ANTHONY: The stage production will include art by Scott Witt. How has that collaboration worked?

BARRY: Scott has been phenomenal! He offered his services when I mentioned The GRAFT during a live streaming show. I had seen his work and really liked it. I gave him some rough demos of the songs, and some lyric sheets and asked him to draw whatever came to him. I had no idea he would connect with the material so well. I’m really happy to have Scott on board, and looking forward to more artwork for the full-length video for the show.

Darrell Long & Barry Mangione performing a song from The GRAFT.

ANTHONY: APPLY THE GRAFT is a deeply personal work for you. What else would you like people to know about the project that you haven’t told us yet?

BARRY: I think there may be a perception that The GRAFT is only for people who’ve hit rock bottom or are going through deep suffering. I’d like people to know that the tools in The GRAFT are applicable for anyone at any stage of their life’s journey, and the show itself is not just about healing, it’s also about entertaining the audience. I don’t promise to give anyone the answers to their life’s problems with The GRAFT. My hope is that when people leave the theater, they’ll have questions to take with them that will lead them to their own answers, because we all have to find the truth for ourselves.

ANTHONY: The Kickstarter for APPLY THE GRAFT is moving slowly. What perks can backers choose from?

BARRY: What can we do to spread the word? The backer rewards start as low as $5.00 for a lyric book. Besides tickets to the show, you can get two one-on-one life coaching sessions and private performances of the show. One of the more interesting perks gives you the chance to be a part of every show, not just the one you attend, by submitting photos or video to be included in the show’s featured video. If you have photos or a short video that embodies one or more of the themes in The GRAFT, you can submit it to us and we can include it as part of the show. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s already contributed, and thank anyone in advance who will be pledging their support in the future. As far as spreading the word, the term “viral” is just a new word for an old phrase: “word of mouth.” The best thing people can do other than pledging support through Kickstarter is to tell friends about it through social media and create a “buzz” around the show. It’s a show and an experience that has the potential to change people’s lives, so the more people who know about it, the greater the chance someone will see it and it’ll make a difference in their life.


So there you have it. You heard the man: even if you can’t contribute monetarily to the Kickstarter, you may know people who can. Spread the word, about this interview if nothing else. Let’s get Barry to a theater with Apply The GRAFT so he can build even more word-of-mouth.

You can follow Barry on Twitter @BarryMangione.  You can follow the project itself on Twitter @applythegraft. You can find Barry on Facebook, and The GRAFT on Facebook as well. And there’s the website, of course.

But most importantly: the Kickstarter. <—– There’s the link. Click on it. Watch Barry’s video explaining the project in more detail. Read what he has to say. Listen to the demos. And help that dollar amount go up. He’s got 18 days left and a long way to go, but we can make this happen.


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    […] Here’s the link to donate to that project if you’d like. And here’s a link to my interview with Barry about the […]

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