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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Pop porn
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2015-07-29

This article shared 3418 times since Wed Jul 29, 2015
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Out actor Steve Love wasn't originally supposed to star in the world premiere musical comedy Stanley in the Name of Love for The New Colony. Love previously choreographed The New Colony's revised Tupperware musical Plastic Revolution, so he was initially contacted to help add some choreography for this ensemble-devised show.

But director Sean Kelly instead asked Love to audition for the title role of Stanley in the Name of Love when another originally cast actor had to pull out due to a scheduling conflict. So now Love is starring in the show, while Kelly and his assistants are tackling the choreography, among other duties.

"Steve is my favorite kind of actor," Kelly said. "He is able to push at the boundaries of what you're willing to believe in and onstage he makes such strange choices that can seem larger than life."

Indeed, Love has made a mark in Chicago's camp theater scene starring in prominent roles ( frequently in drag ) for Hell in a Handbag Productions. Love recently played Helen Stellar in Dan Savage's spoof of The Miracle Worker called MIRACLE! and Suzie Turner ( Lana Turner's daughter ) in L'imitation of Life in 2013. But now Love is dropping the drag for costumes that will likely expose a lot of male skin.

Stanley in the Name of Love, described by Kelly as an "absurdist gay porn dance pop musical," is ostensibly about an 18-year-old "trailer park fairy" named Stanley who decides to become a porn star at the urging of his best friend named Harriet ( Christina Boucher ) and three gay angels ( Luke Michael Grimes, Jeff Meyer and Christopher Tuttle ) in order to fall in love.

"We're sort of in a world that is not post-apocalyptic, but almost there. It's not dissimilar to the world we live in now, but it is closer to the end when things are not going well," Love said. "It's also a world where love has been disproven by scientists."

But despite those odds, Stanley soon sets his sights on falling in love with the porn star Rod Fullalove ( Michael Peters ), who only believes in sex. The show also features Hell in a Handbag artistic director David Cerda, who plays a porn producer named Burt.

"It's very absurdist. It's a crazy show and the subject matter sounds really risqué," Love said. "But honestly it's all presented in a way that is very innocent and almost cartoon-like."

In addition to the ensemble helping to devise the show and its tone, the score for Stanley in the Name of Love is also a grab-bag of authorship. Songwriters Nickolas Blazina, Henry Riggs, Alex Kilner and Sean Kelly are all lumped together under the billing of "The Delicious Moons."

"The score is a mixtape," Kelly said. "We were able to pool all of these cool talents together and scratch out these peppy little demos and then hand them all over to Nickolas Blazina, a Nashville-based songwriter and producer who took them all and turned them all into these incredible radio pop songs."

Love is definitely a fan of the engineered and layered pre-recorded pop score, saying that the songs "sound anywhere like Britney Spears to Mika. It's an electronic pop sound and I really feel like all of the songs could be on the radio. They're so good."

When he was interviewed two weeks ago, Love said Kelly and the ensemble were still working out the right tone for the show. Especially considering all the flights of fancy involved and the potentially sordid subject matter.

"My work with Handbag has certainly prepared me for this show. It does start in a world that is heightened from our own. The characters are a little bit over the top," Love said. "But it's much darker than campy. And it takes us to a place that everyone can relate to which is trying to find something from nothing, trying to find meaning in an otherwise uncertain world—which is what all of the characters in Stanley are doing."

And when asked if he was the show's principal author rather than the officially billed "Mr. Margaret Svetlove" in all the promotional materials for Stanley in the Name of Love, Kelly said "over the past two years a lot of people have come in and out in the creating of the story, and so it doesn't feel right to put my name on it alone. It feels more like a collage rather than a play to me."

The New Colony's world premiere of Stanley in the Name of Love plays from Thursday, July 30, through Saturday, Aug. 29, in the Upstairs Mainstage of The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Preview tickets are $15, while regular-run tickets are $20-$25. Visit thenewcolony.org for more information.


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