The Golden Girls Live


Grant proposal for a stage production
of the 1980's television series






Executive Summary


Problem Statement


Goals, Objectives & Outcomes


Producing the Show


Evaluation Processes


Budget Requirements


Future & Additional Funding




About Mess Enterprises






The threat of Alzheimer’s disease looms over us all, and poses a significant threat to the elderly. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects the brain, and robs its victims of their ability to reason. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s are frequently confused, and sometimes emotionally degraded by their symptom’s effects, suffering until they either die from the disease, or associated complications. As a result, it is imperative that we the American public increase our efforts to fund further research, and discover the cure and treatments needed for this deadly malady. Research requires money, which makes fundraising a vital tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Mess Enterprises intends to rise to this challenge by making substantial contributions to Alzheimer’s research.

Our fundraising idea is to present live, theatrical productions of the television program, The Golden Girls. Mess believes the lasting popularity of the Golden Girls television show, coupled with a successful precedent of TV show stage productions set by The Real Live Brady Bunch in 1992, will make The Golden Girls Live an unbridled fundraising success. With full copyright permission obtained from Buena Vista Incorporated, Mess plans to produce these staged versions as accurately to the original show as possible. Our belief in the potential success of this idea comes from years of extensive research conducted by Mess Enterprises. Through our online efforts ( Mess has conducted comprehensive studies (primarily surveys, polls and general community involvement) into the American public’s lingering affection for this television show. With over 100,000 Web visitors a month, Mess has concluded that the show’s popularity is more than enough to warrant this project and believes in its ability to support funding for Alzheimer’s treatment and cure.

With an initial gift of $25,000, Mess plans to establish a theatrical institution within San Francisco, one devoted to entertaining the public with time-tested content, employing stage professionals, and donating revenues to fund Alzheimer’s research. The ultimate goal of The Golden Girls Live is to generate $20,000 a month for Alzheimer’s research, while maintaining fiscal independence after the first month of production. We intend to reach this goal within the first year, and are working towards keeping this project going as long as possible after that time. Every dollar that is raised for research puts us that much closer to an eventual cure for this disease, making it in everyone’s best interest to support this and other likeminded fundraising ventures.





Over the past 15 years, American public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease has increased dramatically. High profile cases such as Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston have helped to expose Alzheimer’s ravaging effects on the human brain. Even with this level of exposure, most people are still unclear as to exactly how Alzheimer’s disease is contracted and how it affects its victims.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s disease is defined as a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, one of several disorders that cause the gradual loss of brain cells. These degenerative disorders are often grouped under the umbrella term dementia. Symptoms of dementia include gradual loss of memory, problems that require reasoning or judgment, disorientation, learning difficulty, loss of language skills, and a decline in the ability to perform routine tasks. People with Alzheimer’s disease also experience changes in their personality and behavioral problems, such as agitation, anxiety, delusions, and hallucinations.

Above all else, Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease, and currently, there is no medical treatment to cure or stop its progression. Research into the causes of dementia date back more than twenty years and many advances have been made over that time. Medications like Tacrine, and Donepezil are now available, and help many with Alzheimer’s to adjust and adapt to the effects of the disease. However, as James L. Olds, Ph.D. and researcher at McGill University in Montreal reasserts, “Current drugs on the market cannot cure Alzheimer’s disease. They may address some of the symptoms of the disease, such as loss of memory function, but currently this disease has no cure.”

Statistics gathered by the National Institutes of Health show Alzheimer’s currently afflicts over four million Americans. As the populous baby boomer generation ages, many expect this number to rise considerably. “The U.S. health care system is about to implode, and Alzheimer's disease will be the detonator,” said Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association (the largest national health organization devoted to Alzheimer’s research and education). Because ten percent of people over 65 suffer from the disease, and 50% of people over the age of 85 also suffer, Alzheimer’s has become one of the most major medical challenges we face today.

In 2002, the federal government spent nearly 600 million dollars funding Alzheimer research, and additional funds also came from many sources within the private sector. Despite these efforts, more research is still desperately needed. It’s unknown whether current research into nerve cell health and repair, or the preliminary affects of estrogen treatments will provide the clues to the cure, since many research projects co-sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association remain in constant need of additional funding to continue their work.

The focus of this grant is to raise money for Alzheimer’s related research. Mess Enterprises believes that investing in the health and dignity of our elders will have profound and lasting benefits for us all.





Mess Enterprises is committed to funding research into the cure of Alzheimer’s disease. To this end, we intend our fundraising project, The Golden Girls Live (a theatrical production of the television show, The Golden Girls), to provide selected Alzheimer’s research projects (to be chosen by the Mess board of directors) with a steady and substantial revenue stream. Mess also plans to use the promotional nature of this opportunity to increase public awareness of the Alzheimer’s disease by offering every audience information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association.


Our objectives:


·         Create a sustainable business model, where future funding is unnecessary after the initial month of stage production.


·         Maximize profits. With three performances per week, three weeks a month, in a theater of 300 seats at $15 apiece, expected revenue generation is estimated at $20,000 a month (excluding operational expenses). By keeping costs down, Mess hopes to raise up to $60,000 in donation revenues per quarter directly for the Alzheimer’s Association. If public demand warrants more performances, revenue totals could reach $250,000 within one year.


·         Elevate public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease by providing our audiences with medical information from the Alzheimer’s Association. By making this effort to educate the public, Mess hopes to generate a greater awareness for those who have Alzheimer’s, and inspire the public to support research for a cure.


The outcomes of our proposed goals are simple to understand. Often the success of a research project depends on its access to funds, and by providing these funds, Mess Enterprises hopes to play an active role in the fight against this terrible disease. The ultimate outcome is the total eradication of Alzheimer’s, which would improve lives for tens of millions of people worldwide.





In an effort to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research in a new and effective way, Mess Enterprises aspires to present live, theatrical productions of actual episodes from the 1980s television sitcom, The Golden Girls. Each performance would consist of two complete episodes, using verbatim dialogue, but with embellishments only the live stage can offer.

Production requirements for The Golden Girls Live will be comprised of traditional stage production requirements. However, unique to this project is securing the copyright permission for protected Buena Vista content (scripts, characters, general likeness). Buena Vista Incorporated, a subdivision of the Disney Corporation, are the copyright holders of The Golden Girls television series. Funding for this project will not be accepted until copyright permission has been legally secured. Proof of Right to Use permission will be presented upon the Foundation’s request.

With Right to Use permission in place, production for the show may begin. All production decisions will be directed through the Mess Enterprises board of directors. Production requires locating a suitable theater within San Francisco. For this project, our theater criteria included a sizable stage, professional sound and lighting, and a minimum 100 seat capacity venue. Preliminary research has identified possible locations, including the Project Artaud, which seat over 300 people. They have offered their facilities for rent at $3,000 a month, as listed in the ‘Budget’ section.

With the theater location identified, the pre-production process can begin. Pre-production includes auditions, and the construction of a mobile, collapsible set. Auditions will be open to both amateur and professional union actors. Each actor will be paid for their work as independent contractors. Contractors are not qualified for medical benefits; therefore their salaries are the extent of their cost in the project. The same is true for the crew employees. All crew employees, including the director, will come from the recommendation of company officer, Jason Davis. However, all hiring decisions must be unanimously agreed upon by the Mess Enterprises board of directors.

While holding auditions, the crew set designer will construct the mobile stage set, and produce painted scrims for scene transitions. The theater stage set will be modeled on the television set, and will collapse for easy assembly and storage. A collapsible set will be instrumental in keeping theater rental costs down, while also allowing the set to travel or relocate if production schedules change at the intended production location. The set designer will also work with a prop master, to coordinate the look of stage props and costume designs for the cast.

Rehearsals begin once casting for each role is complete. At this time, costumes are fitted for actors and their understudies. To reduce costs, the bulk of rehearsals will take place at private residences, saving valuable theater rental costs till final blocking and technical run-throughs require the full stage environment.

Also, to control costs, marketing for the show will be limited to weekly newspaper ads, neighborhood flyers, and local radio spots. Mess Enterprises officer Jason Heffel will design the show’s print collateral for newspaper ads, flyers, radio promotionals, as well as the show’s program handout. All materials will be printed at Shultz Printing of San Francisco, where Mess Enterprises enjoys on ongoing discount on products and services. Jason Heffel will also oversee ad submission and flyer distribution. Radio promotion will be done live at the radio station. Actors will volunteer their time to promote the show via radio.

Accounting and bookkeeping will be handled by Mess officer, Mary Burk. This includes budgeting initial grant money, as well as accounting for revenue from ticket sales. Once all show expenses have been reconciled, remaining profits will be donated on a quarterly basis to Alzheimer’s Association supported research projects.

Mess Enterprises believes that by following this outlined production strategy, we can generate a substantial amount of consistent profit revenue for funding Alzheimer’s research, while also providing employment and public entertainment.





Determining the fundraising success of The Golden Girls Live will depend solely on ticket sale revenue. Our initial goal is to achieve financial independence after one month in production. Evaluating the success of this goal will be easy: if we generate enough money to cover the next month’s expenses and keep the show going, then we have accomplished our first step to sustained, charitable giving.

Our second and primary goal is to raise the most money possible for Alzheimer’s research. Based on a 300 seat theater, Mess has calculated our maximum profit potential to be approximately $20,000 a month after operation expenses. We do not intend to begin with this level of success, but will work towards this goal throughout the year. Evaluating our ability to reach the $20,000 monthly donation goal will require monthly financial review analysis by the Mess Enterprises board of directors. Revenue analysis will help identify weaknesses in marketing efforts and the business model by revealing overall earning trends, and allow the Mess board of directors to modify business practices and improve ticket sales.

Mess also plans to keep revenue reports public so that the public at large can share in our success, and see the benefit their show attendance makes to the research projects we fund. Quarterly progress reports are available and provided by the Alzheimer’s Association which detail status and progress for each funded research project. Project updates will be shared periodically with The Golden Girls Live audience, as part of public awareness efforts to sustain continued giving for this research.






1) Rental $3,000

Theater Total $3,000



1) Lighting $1,000

2) Sound $1,000

3) Props $1,000

4) Costumes $1,000

5) Set designer $2,000 (one-time cost)

6) Director $3,000

7) Stage hands $1,000 (2)

Crew Total $10,000         



1) Lead One $1,500

2) Lead Two $1,500

3) Lead Three $1,500

4) Lead Four $1,500

5) Supporting $0,500 (2)

6) Understudies $0,500 (2)

Actors Total $7,000



1) Print ads $1,000

2) Flyers $0,500

3) Radio Spots $0,500

Promotions Total $2,000



1) Props & Costumes $0,500

2) Set materials $2,000

3) Printing $0,250

4) Miscellaneous $0,250

Materials Total $1,000







Funding requirements for The Golden Girls Live is limited to marketing promotionals, and first month production costs. Money secured for this staged production will be used to also cover one-time setup costs for stage and costume design. Mess Enterprises estimates this setup cost to be $25,000, and we will be pursuing a single donor for this contribution.

Once funding is secured, Mess Enterprises has no intention of seeking any additional or future funding for this project. After its first month of operation, The Golden Girls Live stage production plans to be completely self-sustaining, earning enough residual income to make substantial and consistent contributions to fund Alzheimer’s research. If The Golden Girls Live is not able to generate enough money to sustain itself within its first month, the project will be terminated, with a donation of tangible stage assets going to the San Francisco Waldorf School theater department.





Medical research will always need funding from the private sector, and it is our responsibility as a concerned public to ensure these necessary resources. Mess Enterprises believes that the threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease warrants are attention on so many levels. It is a disease that affects our entire population either directly or indirectly, and we cannot stop supporting research until there is a cure.

Direct contributions to support medical research are always helpful. In addition, Mess believes that with a one-time gift of $25,000, and the cooperation of a dedicated production team, we can establish an entertaining and sustainable stage show that is dedicated to generating monies to support Alzheimer’s research over a long period of time. With the help of a donating foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association, Mess Enterprises believes The Golden Girls Live stage show will help to make our collective lives healthier and happier.





Mess Enterprises was founded in 1996 by Jason Heffel and Mary Burk, as an Internet professional services company. For the last seven years, Mess has provided creative, technical, and managerial support to some of the industry’s leading corporations, including Sybase, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

In addition to our professional work, Mess has always placed a high importance on producing its own creative endeavors. Our first effort was to develop two separate Web projects; the definitive personal cat site ( and a leading online Golden Girls tribute ( Both Web sites have proven very successful online attractions, and are now amongst the most popular in their genre. More recently, Mess has also cultivated a substantial base of talented contractors. Our talent base includes animators, writers, and actors. These important collaborations have allowed Mess Enterprises to explore new realms of producing and showcasing creative content. Currently, we are in production for an original cartoon series, set for release in 2004, and we are also involved with several small, ongoing theater productions in the Bay Area.

Mess Enterprises believes that creative efforts serves a dual purpose. In addition to the satisfying rewards of self-expression, cartoon and stage performances focus on serving the public’s interest, while also acting as a vehicle to raise funds, and raise public awareness. It has always been our policy at Mess to place art above profit, and we intend to continue this mission though charitable efforts like The Golden Girls Live.

Mess Enterprises is supported by a diverse group of constituents that cuts across a variety of demographic regions. From youthful Rufo admirers to elderly fans of The Golden Girls, Mess operates several fan clubs and combined, their number now exceeds over 100,000 registered members. This fan base continues to increase, despite our refusal to support advertisements or commercial promotion. More importantly, our audience is very vocal, and sends us hundreds of constructive emails a month. One of our most prolific Golden Girls tribute fans, fifty-seven year old Rueben Manschewitz from Boca Raton Florida, recently emailed to say, “The Golden Girls Album is the best new record I have listened to for a long time. Man, those girls sure do know how to swing!” From this praise, and many other similar sentiments, Mess Enterprises is confident that future, creative projects centering on the Golden Girls will be met with equal exuberance.

Mess Enterprises consists of volunteers from the technology, education, and entertainment industries. Our board of directors include Jason Heffel, Mary Burk and Jason Davis. The founder of Mess Enterprises, Jason Heffel, is a freelance writer and music composer, with a keen interest in developing new, and repackaging old, media content. Our chief administrative advisor, Mary Burk, is the CEO of Mess Enterprises and a seasoned project manager. Public relations manager, Jason Davis, is a current member of the San Francisco American Conservatory Theater, and also teaches drama and English at the San Francisco Waldorf high school.

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