Most Wanted: The Andrew Cunanan Musical

Cunanan

A two-week workshop production of a new musical based on Versace serial killer Andrew Cunanan opens tonight at the La Jolla Playhouse.

TorresAccording to the North County Times, “The musical’s creators say the Versace murder by the Filipino-American social climber, Cunanan, was the obvious inspiration for Most Wanted, but not the message. [Composer Mark] Bennett said the musical instead will explore American pop culture, racial relations (Cunanan and playwright [Jessica] Hagedorn are Filipino-Americans) and the seductiveness of celebrity, money, power and fame. ‘The important thing for me in writing this piece was to address the question of why this culture of celebrity is so prevalent today,’ said Hagedorn, whose play about Filipino culture, ‘Dogeaters,’ had its world premiere under [Playhouse artistic chief Michael] Greif’s direction at the Playhouse in 1998. ‘And how do people of color play into that? This play explores the dark side of the American dream. What does it really mean to be a person of color in this country? What does being American mean? Does it mean you are fine if you are famous?'”

CunananwantedThe L.A. Times reports on the show and its unconventional narrator: “Some time later, as composer and playwright pecked away in Hagedorn’s apartment, their drag queen rose to the rescue. Previously given a cameo in the script’s back pages, she started ‘shaping and shaping and shaping herself,’ as Hagedorn puts it, complete with a sassy and savvy demeanor. Named Stormy Leather, the drag queen became the sardonic, all-knowing mainspring for telling and commenting upon the story — which would now be framed by her act as mistress of ceremonies at Uncle Buck’s, a cabaret that’s supposedly in San Diego, but spiritually closer to ‘The Twilight Zone.'”

The musical has been in development since 2004, when the NEA created controversy by awarding its creators a $35,000 grant.

The cast: “Most Wanted stars Daniel Torres (whose Broadway credits include ‘The Pirate Queen’ and ‘The Woman in White’ and the off-Broadway production of ‘Altar Boyz’) as the central character Danny Reyes, a bright, working-class minority youth who earns a scholarship to an elite private school, then goes astray. Broadway veteran Ken Page (‘Cats,’ ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” and ‘The Wiz’) co-stars as Stormy Leather, the drag queen who narrates the story. And Arthur Acuna plays both Danny’s father and fashion designer Apolo Serra.”

‘Andrew Cunanan–The Musical’? [la times]
Playhouse unveils workshop musical inspired by SD serial killer’s quest for fame [north county times]
(top image: LA Times)

Comments

  1. Jordan says

    AJ, I know, right?

    Why couldn’t Cunanan have whacked that vampire Donatella instead of Gianni?

    And this proves they will make a musical (or a play/movie/book) about anything, since Cunanan was a total psychopath. Anything that smells like it has even a remote chance of generating a buck…

  2. IceG says

    Call your local cable TV provider NOW and DEMAND that they start carrying the all-new, all-sleaze, all Attention Desperate Disorder all the time, 24-7 network:

    “SUCH A DRAG” with these inimitable stars in constast rotation:

    Stormy Leather
    Lady Bunny
    Mama
    Donna Sachet
    Elaine Lancaster
    and others too numerous and repulsive to mention.

  3. Hephaestion says

    Ken Page is in “Most Wanted”!!!! KEN PAGE!
    I would go through the hell of a Jerry Falwell Tribute to see Ken Page perform! ANYTHING he is in has to be good! Ever since he stole the show in “Torch Song Trilogy” I have been a huge fan of his!

  4. Mike says

    Murder & mayhem has always been a staple of the musical genre (including opera):

    Sweeney Todd
    Phantom of the Opera
    Jekyll & Hyde
    Carrie
    Assassins
    Curtains
    Chicago

    not to mention those based on war & revolution:
    Les Miserables
    Miss Saigon
    Mamma Mia (Waterloo)

  5. Larry says

    You don’t remember any interesting bits in Phantom, Mike, because there weren’t any. Shane how do you know that the show their cooking up in La Jolla won’t do “something interesting?”

  6. nora says

    you forgot one more: “The Threepenny Opera”. “It’s Mack the knife.” By the way Most Wanted was an awesome show. I didn’t expect to like it at all. By intermission I was on the phone calling friends to see it before it closed. If it ever appears again and Ken Page and Daniel Torres are still attached, definitely go.

  7. nora says

    you forgot one more: “The Threepenny Opera”. “It’s Mack the knife.” By the way Most Wanted was an awesome show. I didn’t expect to like it at all. By intermission I was on the phone calling friends to see it before it closed. If it ever appears again and Ken Page and Daniel Torres are still attached, definitely go.

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