We recently had a conversation with Christopher St. John and Scott King about their new project, ‘Gayland’. It’s a musical comedy that will be lots of fun.
Twist Online: So give me the premise for Gayland in a nutshell.
Christopher St. John: It’s a love story set in an alternate universe in which almost everyone is gay. And there are just a few breeders. They’re this marginalized group, struggling for their rights.
Twist Online: So it’s our world, backwards.
Christopher St. John: Exactly.
Twist Online: And what’s the meaning of this rainbow Confederate flag logo?
Scott King: In the recent history of the Gayland version America, there was a group of states that held breeders in subjection. The females were used as breeding stock, and the males were used for labor.
Christopher St. John: That was the Rainbow Confederacy.
Scott King: And in the present, there are some states where lot of people hold anti-breeder views. For a local politician, anti-breeder rhetoric is the gift that keeps on giving.
Christopher St. John: Sound familiar?
Twist Online: Ouch! A little too familiar. So when you did you first have Gayland on the stage?
Christopher St. John: In the New Orleans Fringe Festival in 2013.
Twist Online: In the south? Was it controversial?
Christopher St. John: There were some rumblings. But a lot of people loved it. Of course, it was a Fringe audience.
Scott King: We were in the largest Fringe Festival venue, Marigny Opera House. And by the end of the Festival, it was standing room only.
Christopher St. John: One of the local papers, NOLA Defender, called Gayland “the must-see of Fringe Festival.”
Twist Online: So this is about a gay world, but I understand that one of you is gay, and one of you is straight.
Scott King: Correct.
Twist Online: Which is which?
Christopher St. John: You can’t tell by looking?
Scott King: Maybe you need to change the batteries on your gaydar.
Christopher St. John: Here’s something even weirder: One of us is a Republican, and one of us is a Democrat.
Twist Online: Okay, now you’re freaking me out. How did you two meet?
Scott King: We met in a church in San Francisco.
Twist Online: In a church?
Scott King: Yes, an Episcopal church.
Christopher St. John: St. Gregory’s. And there were like tons of composers there. All the music was a capella. We did a lot of chant and modal music.
Scott King: Actually, the first big piece that Christopher and I worked on together was a Passion. We harmonized the gospels. Literally.
Christopher St. John: And then we did an opera set in the world of pharmaceutical marketing. A comedy, of course.
Scott King: Oomph! it was called.
Twist Online: What’s happening with Gayland now?
Scott King: We’ve been workshopping it in New York. We had a great read on the main stage at the York Theatre.
Christopher St. John: They’re a very forward-thinking company. They were part of the development for Avenue Q.
Scott King: Every time it’s in front of an audience, we learn more.
Christopher St. John: We get a lot of good response to the fact that we have so many strong women characters. There’s still a hunger for that.
Scott King: The whole Gayland world is female-led. Breeder guys are at the bottom of the heap.
Twist Online: Next public performance?
Scott King: We’re having a table read at 224 Studios in Manhattan on February 15th.
Christopher St. John: Our aim is to create a version that can work on Broadway.
Twist Online: Are you having to make a lot of changes to go from edgy to mainstream?
Christopher St. John: Well, one of the songs went from “Don’t Forget Your Cock Ring” to “Don’t Forget Your Bible,” which must be one of the hardest U-turns in the history of theatre.
Twist Online: Okay, readers: Follow the Gayland gala on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. Ciao!