Why They Hate Us, Part CMXXIV


Courtesy reader Ari Spanier, from California's North County Times:

Cunanan musical to be developed at La Jolla Playhouse

A musical based on the life of San Diego serial killer Andrew Cunanan ---- whose far-flung victims include fashion designer Gianni Versace ---- will be developed this year at the La Jolla Playhouse through a $35,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Playhouse announced last week.

The musical, titled "Disposable," will be developed by three Playhouse associates ---- playwright Jessica Hagedorn (whose "Dogeaters" went from the Playhouse to off-Broadway a few years ago), composer Mark Bennett (creator of the score for the Playhouse's "Eden Lane" last year) and director Michael Greif (who ran the Playhouse as artistic director from 1994 to 1999).

Playhouse spokeswoman Jessica Padilla called the musical a "long-term project in the very early stages of development." While "Disposable" will have its world premiere at the Playhouse, Padilla said she did not know when it would take place.

Cunanan grew up in La Jolla, was a regular in San Diego's gay party scene in the 1990s and had a reputation as a gay prostitute before he embarked on a cross-country odyssey of serial killings in 1997. Before he shot himself to death in a Miami-area houseboat, Cunanan was suspected of killing five people (most of them gay men) in Illinois, Minnesota and Florida. His last victim, Versace, was shot to death on the front steps of his Miami mansion.

Is it just me, or are the creators of musicals based on real-life serial killers chasing the rainbow? Sure, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Sweeney Todd can put asses in the seats, but such singing spectacles as Assassins, about US presidential killers (hey, you try rhyming "Leon Czolgosz"), and Capeman (despite a hand from a Nobel Prize winner, this debacle merely underscored that Art Garfunkel really was carrying Paul Simon all those years), tanked like a revival of Home Sweet Home (a deadly musical version of the Iliad that lasted one performance and surely contributed to Yul Brynner's death every bit as much as the cigarettes he famously blamed posthumously).