Accompanied by a cello and piano, Love sings, “Today I woke up to a phone call that I knew was coming / A phone call from you” over the mournful, elegiac song. “All I ever wanted in this lifetime was to see a movie with you,” laments the Hole frontwoman.
In the piece, told primarily through song, Love plays Athena, a teenage singer who leaves her boyfriend (Almond) in Kansas City to pursue fame and success in New York. Problems arise when he tries to follow her and discovers that Love has already been wooed by the thrill and vices of the city.
Love remains cautiously optimistic about the chances for success of the play, which runs as part of the Prototype Festival from January 8th – 17th, but admitted that musical theatre is a medium she’s always wanted to explore. “It’s like putting out a single,” the singer told the New York Times. “If it gets catchy, then we do it in London or something. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. We think it’s really catchy and fabulous. I’ve never done musical theater — I really wanted to do theater, but probably I’m not ready to do a play quite yet. Fortuitously, Todd wrote this thing eight years ago, and I met him and I fell in love with it.”
Almond was inspired to write the musical, in part, by the macabre. After being hired by the Juilliard School of Music to perform “The Odyssey,” Almond discovered that the person playing Athena was murdered. Years later, while writing music in Kansas City, he saw a news report about another missing girl, triggering memories of the murdered actress. After imagining that she “ran off to the big city to make something of herself, and then…fell into the wrong hands,” he wrote the role that would eventually go to Love.
For the singer, who was looking for a next career move, it was a natural progression. “I got to that part where I’m looking down at the set list going, really, ‘Malibu’ next?,” Love said about a recent solo gig. “Are we halfway done yet? And when that happens in rock and roll, it’s like, O.K., I’ve got to look at something else. Because I’m not loving this. I’m not in the moment. Forget persona, forget who’s new and who’s old, your mojo is your mojo. This is giving me real mojo and challenges that hopefully aren’t too hard.”