News & Blog

Countdown to the MST3K LIVE Watch Out for Snakes Tour!

A Message From Joel

Hello friends! The following is an excerpt from the most recent Kickstarter Update, which Joel wanted to share publicly here too.

The first shows in our "MST3K LIVE: Watch Out for Snakes!" tour are coming up fast. In just a couple weeks, we'll start our full tech and dress rehearsals, so that we have a chance to run through the show with our sets and props and costumes. And then, on July 6, we'll have our first show in Boston! That’s right, I said it: we open in Boston! That’s about as show business as it gets. 

Now, I know a lot of you are already planning to come out and join us, because the ticket sales have been really strong so far. If you've already got your tickets, I really can't thank you enough, and I can't wait to thank you in person at the show. Or, if you don't have your tickets and we'll be coming to a theater near you, I hope you'll grab some now, while you still can! 

And remember, we actually have two completely different shows for the tour, and in most cities, we're doing one performance of each. Like I said last time, one of the shows will feature Eegah! – but with 100% new riffs! – and the other is a "Secret Surprise Film", which I think I'll probably end up revealing just after our first performance, since I'm sure word will get around fast. Anyway, if you have the chance to see both shows, I recommend it. 

You can see the full schedule again RIGHT HERE. 

Servo gets another new voice… for now. 

Now, before we get into the new stuff, there's one other thing I want to tell you about MST3K LIVE, just so you know exactly what's happening. If you've already watched the "teaser video" we released for the tour, you might have noticed a line that said "Robot voices subject to change without warning or notice." That's because, while we always knew this was a possibility, we didn't get "official" confirmation until this week. 

But, now that we have, here's what you should know: 

Baron Vaughn, our third and latest Tom Servo, will not be able to join us for the upcoming tour. But, you should also know that Baron isn't able to come on the tour for the very best possible reason: he's becoming a father! 

That's right: Baron is expecting his first baby this fall. And, as you know, our live tour is six solid weeks on the road without a break. So, we all agreed that it's important for Baron to stay in LA in order to prepare for the baby's arrival. It would have been really fun to have him on the road with us, but I think this is the right thing to do, and the best way for us all to proceed. 

The good news is, we also have a wonderful stand-in that our whole cast agreed was a perfect fit to voice Servo on the road, and who was actually already a writer and performer on the show in the newest season. I'll introduce you to him in the next update, but we're very excited about it, because he's a very funny – and talented – guy. 

(And no, it's not Kevin Murphy.)

And don't worry: Baron will be back in his spot, riffing as Tom Servo when Season 12 starts up, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. But for now, I hope you'll join me in congratulating him on his big news, and agree that this was the right decision for him and for MST3K LIVE. 

A Sneak Peek at MST3K LIVE! 

Anyway, whether you're able to join us for this summer's tour or not, I thought I could share a little "sneak peek" to help you see why I'm so excited about live tour. 

The first thing to tell you is that MST3K LIVE is more than just riffing. See, the really interesting creative challenge this time around has been figuring out how we can bring the entire MST3K experience to life on stage, and to take advantage of the live format to do things we can't do in our regular episodes. So yeah, the touring show is more than just riffing a movie: it's 100% new material and riffs with a giant screen, but we'll also have brand-new sets and props, host segments and invention exchanges, and a lot of other neat surprises that I don't want to give away in advance. 

But yeah, I promised a sneak peek at what we're working on, so today, I thought I'd show you the direction we're working on for the traveling set for this first edition of MST3K LIVE! 

Setting the Stage

Now, in my mind there are four locations or “settings” that I feel are essential to the full "MST3K experience." So, that naturally meant we needed to translate those four settings to the stage show. One location is the Mads' base on Moon 13, but the other three – the Bridge, the Doorways and the Theater – are all parts of the Satellite of Love. 

Working with my vision team at Alternaversal, we spent weeks trying to imagine just how we could accomplish this in a practical, portable form. We burned through quite a few brain cells – and quite a few dry-erase markers – in the process. (Come to think of it, maybe there's a connection between losing brain cells and dry-erase boards?) 

Anyway, I’m proud to tell you, what we figured out is so elegant, I can’t quite believe it:

If you look closely at this whiteboard sketch, it’s a hybrid design that includes a movie screen, a rear projection screen that behaves like a green screen, and a puppet stage. It also allows for video visits from Kinga and Max via “jet-screen.” That means that it can cover all of our locations in a single stage piece! 

Then, after we figured out a lot of the physical mechanics of a road-worthy SOL, we created a composite mock-up to give us a better idea of the scale I was talking about:

And, while I can't show you photos of the finished set just yet, this is a pretty neat cardboard prototype model of the set, which our set designer – Aaron Somers – built in his studio in Brooklyn:

If you look, you'll see that Jonah and the bots actually move through the doorways on the left and right to sit on the other side of the rear projection screen, so that their silhouettes are projected live during the movies. Also, during the movie, the lights go down on the rest of the set. As you can imagine, the effect will be really cool. 

Anyway, that's a little peek at the main set we're working on. 

In the next update, I'll also give you an "inside look" at one of the more crazy and innovative props we've been designing, and of course, introduce you to the next guy to voice Tom Servo. And if you've got other questions about the tour – or anything – you'd like me to talk about in future updates, feel free to let me know in the comments below. 

Now, I've got to get back to work, but before you go, I've asked Ivan to give everyone an overdue update on how your remaining Kickstarter backer rewards are coming along. So, I'll turn the rest of this update over to him. 

And remember, I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of you at the live show – so if you already got tickets, I hope you're excited… and if you've been holding out, be sure to get your tickets soon, before we run out of seats!