When it comes to ‘writing what you know,’ Florian Klein only wrote a fraction of what he knows for the new musical Shooting star.
Among other things, Klein knows what it’s like to move to Hollywood, struggle as an actor, work as a go-go boy and make a career out of it in adult entertainment, which his main character , Taylor, also does. Except that Taylor left Indiana, while Klein emigrated from Bavaria. And Klein also struggled during stints as a catering server, while Taylor’s rise to the top (no, that’s not a gay porn pun) was much smoother.
Now Klein (also known as porn artist Hans Berlin) is chasing a new dream with a revamped, immersive production of the musical at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn, three years after its Los Angeles premiere. But while the direction and cast have changed, the main story – a romance between performers – has remained the same.
“I started porn in 2012 and had the idea in 2013,” Klein said over the phone shortly before a performance. I remember being on the phone at Hustlaball in Berlin, waiting for the bus home, and writing the story outline. It was very campy, called Porn: The Musical. But the basic elements of the story have not changed.
Directed by Dennis Corsi, Shooting star traces a classic show biz trajectory: Taylor (Coleman Cummings) moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams, realizes that success can be more attainable with a slight change of direction, and finds himself at Proud Studios, where he meets Mr. Sue (Zuri Washington), a porn director who starts a day of filming with Madonna’s pre-show prayer of Truth or Dare; love interest Jesse Apollo (Grant Latus); and a host of other colorful characters that fans might recognize in real life.
It may be because, like Nora Ephron, everything is copy for Klein. “Because I was still doing porn, I was still doing research,” he says of the script. “I came to a set and I was supposed to shoot with a guy, and he was finishing a phone call with his girlfriend, and they have kids. And I thought that was so funny, so it’s on the show now, a paying gay actor talking to his wife before filming. And if the structure of the show seems deliciously old-fashioned in its solidity, it may be because Klein turned to Gypsy, fiddler on the roofand The little Mermaid as examples of how to tell a musical story.
While the details of the script and score (music is by Thomas Zaufke and lyrics by Erik Ransom) have changed and deepened, the production itself has undergone a drastic overhaul since its last iteration. In addition to employing an intimacy director to ensure performers feel comfortable on stage and in Barbara Erin Delo’s revealing costumes, there is a wide range of body types on stage. , just as the rise of fan platforms has democratized the adult industry as well.
“When I wrote Shooting star and worked with Raging Stallion, with Titan, with Lucas, it was all a certain body type,” Klein says. “So when I wrote them, they all sounded like the people I’ve toured with. I have a younger crew here in New York, and they opened my eyes to more diversity. We focused on bringing the show into the year 2022.”
One thing that still rings true in 2022 is that sex sells. And such a sexy premise should sell itself. But Klein is quick to point out that the world of gay porn is just the setting of the story, not the story itself. “A pretty woman wasn’t a movie about prostitution – it was a love story,” he says, “And so is Shooting star.”
Shooting star is played until December 18 at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn. For more information and tickets, Click here.