Winner of London’s Off-West End Award in 2019 for GRINDR the Opera, his original musical inspired by the gay dating app, NYC-based New Jersey native Erik Ransom has continued his witty and incisive focus on LGBTQIA themes and artists in two of his latest projects to hit the stage and digital screen.
Just in time for the holiday season – and the US House Select Committee’s recommendations to the Department of Justice regarding the January 6th attack on the Capitol Building – Iconoclast Theatre Collective has released the video of its inaugural single, “War on Xmas,” with lyrics by Ransom, music and orchestration by Andy Peterson, direction by Rachel Klein (the three co-founders of ITC), and direction of photography by Marc Parroquín.
Acclaimed drag queen Pissi Myles – who, in 2019, caused a stir on Capitol Hill when she partnered with the streaming news app Happs to cover Donald Trump’s impeachment – stars in the video, with featured appearances by New York theater artists Coleman Cummings (Mystic Pizza), Terrance Johnson (Bhangin It: A Bangin New Musical), and Luis Villabon (A Chorus Line). According to Ransom, “I’d wanted to work with Pissi Myles for years and, given her renown for attending the impeachment proceedings in Washington, she seemed like a perfect fit for this political parody meets holiday anthem. The team got on like a House (of Representatives) on fire!”
You can watch the video below; the song will be available for streaming and download on Spotify and other popular music outlets on Christmas Day.
Ransom also served as lyricist for Shooting Star, which opened at Brooklyn’s premiere queer bar and performance venue 3 Dollar Bill in October, following a sold-out run and Ovation Award nomination in LA, and has now been extended by popular demand through January, following a holiday hiatus. The semi-autobiographical “revealing new musical,” conceived and written by Florian Klein (aka Hans Berlin), with music by Thomas Kaufke, presents an insider’s perspective on the gay porn industry cum found family and love story, in an immersive staging directed by Dennis Corsi, with music direction by Brad Simmons, choreography by Michael McCrary, and an exciting company of NYC triple threats.
“This cast of ‘Shooting Stars’ is,” Ransom said, “appropriately, stellar! It’s a real honor to see my material performed by such dedicated talent. I was very pleased to work with Coleman Cummings again after he slayed in his role in the Grindr the Opera concert, which was co-produced by Iconoclast Theatre Collective and TOSOS for Pride 2022. Coleman and his Shooting co-stars really bring the house down with their powerhouse vocals, sharp execution of intricate choreography, and boatloads of charisma. Zuri Washington’s eleven o’clock number is NOT to be missed!”
He added, “After our LA production, Florian was committed to the idea of immersing the audience in the world of the Black Rooster nightclub and he did thorough rewrites to center the evening around that concept. I think Dennis Corsi’s deft direction really found the heart of the piece and wove that into the intimate immersion presented to the audience at each performance. One of my favorite things about this production is Michael McCrary’s awe-inspiring choreography, which complements Thomas Zaufke’s electrifying score exquisitely! It helps transport us between intimate charm songs and epic awards show sequences beautifully!”
Erik also feels that the show is being presented in the perfect location, noting that “Three Dollar Bill is sort of a racy, risqué kind of venue, so I think it’s the sort of place into which a porno-centric piece like ours fits rather snugly – ‘as the actor said to the bishop.’ One would be hard-pressed to find a spot quite like it in Manhattan that would make financial sense for a smaller-scale production like ours. Since it is also a literal nightclub, it only adds to the immersive element Florian was seeking from the outset. Plus, there’s a full bar!”
So, to quote Erik’s song, if you want to “Party Like a Porn Star,” don’t miss your chance to experience this hot new musical.