Love Kills, Kyle Jarrow’s musical about a real-life 1958 Western murder spree, gets five readings July 1-3 at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
Love Kills follows the true story of Charlie Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, two teenaged lovers whose week-long rampage through Nebraska and Wyoming inspired such films as Badlands and Natural Born Killers. According to production notes, “Love Kills explores the public's obsession with horror, holds up infatuation to stability, and asks how far you’ll go for someone you love . . . all while accompanied by a pulse-racing rock set.”
As in previous incarnations of the show, Kent Paul directs the intimate musical that received its world premiere as part of the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Jarrow (…Children's Scientology Pageant, Whisper House) penned book, music and lyrics. The readings are designed to showcase the musical to potential Broadway or Off-Broadway producers.
The cast consists of Patrick Rooney as Charlie, Elizabeth Stenholt as Caril, Jeff Perry as Sheriff Karnopp and Ora Jones as his wife, Gertrude. They will perform with a three-piece band at Steppenwolf’s 80-seat 1700 Theatre.
“There’s a younger audience that’s eager for theater that speaks its own language,” Jarrow said in a statement that accompanied a 2012 reading of the show. “This generation—my generation—is attracted by work that packs a visceral punch, and at the same time intelligently and provocatively engages issues relevant to their lives. Issues such as love, violence, responsibility, and the generation gap. Hedwig was a musical that did this. Spring Awakening was another. My aspiration is for Love Kills to appeal to this same audience.”
Jarrow is the author of the Obie-winning play A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. He also penned Trigger, President Harding Is A Rock Star, Rip Me Open, Gorilla Man and music and lyrics for Hostage Song. He also collaborated with Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik on the musical Whisper House.
Music director for the Chicago production is Matt Hinkley. It is produced by Ellen Raphael and Tommy Russell.
For tickets call (312) 335-1650 or visit Steppenwolf.org.
(Updated June 30)