Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pedophilia: The Musical

Will the new musical about pedophilia, now playing in Atlanta, be banned in Boston? We doubt it. Here's another contribution from our friend John:

There's a new musical about molesting boys - now on stage in Atlanta!NOTE THE PARTS OF THE ARTICLE I'VE HIGHLIGHTED IN RED. NOTICE THE FAMILIAR TECHNIQUE. THIS IS ALWAYS HOW THE PROPAGANDA BALL STARTS ROLLING: progressive, tolerant, visionary artists "pushing boundaries" to "get people talking about taboos." Why exactly? Do we learn something? No, except that we're far less disgusted by the disgusting, after we've done the desensitizing "discussion" routine to prove that we're not religious blah, blah, blah-phobes.

Is the outcome ever to reinforce the taboos? No, only to tear them down. "Progress" -- as usual, at the expense of helpless children. Read this incredible mess that reveals so much about our boundless apathy and ongoing moral self-castration.

"Express route to controversy in Atlanta: Tuner's subject matter is anathema to ticket buyers" (Dec. 19, 2005), by Mark Blankenship

Around the holidays, the biggest challenge for many theater companies is convincing audiences to care about yet another staging of "A Christmas Carol." This season in Atlanta, however, Actor's Express wants to stir up buzz about a less familiar property -- namely, a pedophile musical.

The Express has already started pushing "Love Jerry," a new tuner written and composed by Megan Gogerty that follows the tortured story of Jerry, who develops a sexual relationship with his nephew while trying to stay friends with the boy's father.

A delicate, often heart-wrenching piece of theater, the show, which preems Jan. 22 at the Express, never descends to shock-value tactics as it explores volatile terrain, and its lilting country songs give the characters emotionally vulnerable texture. Should it manage to attract a crowd, "Love Jerry" could very well leave them cheering.

But how do you convince anyone to come sing along with a child abuser? It's a double-edged question: Not only can untested musicals be notoriously hard to launch, especially when the writer is an unknown, but pedophilia (not to mention incest to boot) has proven anathema to ticket buyers.

At the movies, for example, heaps of critical praise couldn't produce box office for such abuse-oriented films as "The Woodsman," marketed as a redemption tale with a spooky secret, and "Happiness," presented as a boundary-pushing comedy. And though John Patrick Shanley's [any relation to Father Paul Shanley, convicted Massachusetts child molester?] "Doubt" has had a stellar Broadway run, that play stays in more comfortable territory by never confirming whether its protagonist has molested someone or not.

In "Love Jerry," there's no question what's going on, yet Gogerty refrains from demonizing the title character. She focuses instead on the entire family's attempt to comprehend what's happened.

This moral grayness makes the play even trickier to market, yet it's also what convinced Express artistic director Jasson Minadakis to produce it. He says he "absolutely believes" in the show and is continually "shocked by how powerfully it expresses itself." [Read more of the article in Variety...]