I remember the moment when Gianni Versace was shot: It was ten years ago and I was in college hanging out with my friend Jen. When it was discovered that Versace’s murderer was serial killer Andrew Cunanan, Jen just rolled her eyes. “Damn it,” said Jen. “Just when Filipino Americans were getting somewhere, one of us has to go out and kill Gianni Versace.”
Don’t you want to live that moment over again? Now you can, thanks to the Most Wanted, a new musical inspired from Andrew Cunanan’s life.
When the Cunanan story was on the news all the time, I remember the media playing a heavy gay angle – Cunanan, who murdered his former lovers, Cunanan who prostituted to older men. In media interviews, both scriptwriter Jessica Hagedorn and composer Mark Bennett try to interpret a similar story, but from an angle focusing on American culture and racial identity:
…Bennett said the musical instead will explore American pop culture, racial relations (Cunanan and playwright Hagedorn are Filipino-Americans) and the seductiveness of celebrity, money, power and fame.
“The important thing for me in writing this piece was to address the question of why this culture of celebrity is so prevalent today,” said Hagedorn, whose play about Filipino culture, “Dogeaters,” had its world premiere under Greif’s direction at the Playhouse in 1998. “And how do people of color play into that? This play explores the dark side of the American dream. What does it really mean to be a person of color in this country? What does being American mean? Does it mean you are fine if you are famous?”
Thankfully, the musical will be narrated through a drag queen named “Stormy Leather,” so seriously, it’s still pretty gay.