Love her or despise her, onetime SF resident Courtney Love is swinging back through town next month to give us a one-night sneak peek at a musical theater collaboration she's been working on with composer and lyricist Todd Almond called Kansas City Choir Boy. The event, happening at the Curran Theatre on March 7, is part of the Curran's series "Groundbreakers with Kevin Sessums," featuring conversations with local writer (and the Curran's editor-at-large) Sessuns, and also performances by some artists think of it like City Arts & Lectures, but more theatrical, with occasional music.
Love and Almond have been collaborating for a couple of years on the piece, which the LA Times called "more concert than musical" after it played a brief run there at the Kirk Douglas Theater last fall. It may still be a work in progress, but the staged musical piece centers on a musician character played by Almond and a lost love in Kansas City who may be male or female. Love plays a character named Athena who sings raw songs of longing and loss of her own.
Local theatergoers may recall Almond's last work that was performed here, the sweet and well received boy-meets-boy musical Girlfriend (2010) at Berkeley Rep, which used as its score the Matthew Sweet album of the same name.
At the Curran event with Sessums who, incidentally, wrote a 1995 Vanity Fair cover story about Love and took her as his date to the VF Oscar party that year Almond and Love will be discussing the dynamics of the collaboration, how it came about, and performing songs from the show. Sussums also promises "some gossip" too.
Calling Love a "contemporary iconoclast," Curran artistic director and producer Carole Shorenstein Hays, “I have always had a particular affinity for artists who fearlessly push boundaries... [and] Courtney Love has exhibited a level of uncompromising artistic integrity throughout her career that has made her a music legend as well as one of the most talked about public figures in America."
Directly following the "Groundbreakers" event, on Tuesday March 8, the Curran will welcome Broadway icon Joel Grey, who'll be talking with Sessums about his newly published memoir Master of Ceremonies, about his storied life in the theater, and about his decision last year to come out as gay at age 82.
Says Sessums, "I have been a fan of Joel Grey since I first saw him in Cabaret at the Capri Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi, when I was a freshman in college. I went back to see him and the film the very next night. His menacingly impish rendition of Kander and Ebb's 'Willkommen' welcomed me to my truer self. It opened a closet door for me in a way."