Pop! Brings the Attempted Assassination of Andy Warhol to the Firehouse Theater
The Firehouse Theatre combines mystery and art to present Pop! a whodunit musical centered around who shot Andy Warhol.
Actor John Mincks, previously seen in local productions of Next to Normal and The Tempest, plays Andy Warhol, the noted American artist “who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art” (Wikipedia). Jase Smith, director of Pop!, described Warhol as a man who set himself apart from his peers and started his own path.
“We all have this image of Andy Warhol as this strange character, almost otherworldly,” said Smith. “Not counting Oscar Wilde, he is really the first gay icon before Stonewall and before the media talked about gay people.”
Warhol narrowly survived an assassination attempt on June 3, 1968 in his home studio, named the Silver Factory. Throughout Pop!, Warhol “unravels an even bigger mystery as he confronts not only the prime suspects, but also his art and his own greatest creation: himself”.
As described in a press release, the musical is hosted by drag queen Candy Darling, played by Ian Stearns of Avenue Q and La Cage aux Folles, and has a variety of characters such as ‘“It Girl” Edie Sedgwick, intellectual Viva, outsider Valerie Solanis, Warhol’s associate Gerard Malanga and speed-freak Pope Ondine”.
According to Firehousetheatre.org, “residents of Warhol’s legendary Factory all have motives to pull the trigger”.
Unlike most musicals, the characters in Pop! are based on real members of the Factory. The cast and crew both put in hours of research to capture the mannerisms of the people being portrayed. “Doing research and seeing what [these people] were actually like, what their motivations were and their relationships to each other, really helped the cast get a grounding,” said Smith.
Receiving praise from both Washington Post and Variety, Pop! will be the next “hip, fresh and slightly outrageous” musical to hit Richmond. Starr Foster, choreographer for Pop!, also expects the audience to gain more knowledge of pop art. “Everyone will definitely leave smiling,” said Foster.
Opening night for Pop! will be on July 12, 8pm at the Firehouse Theatre. Tickets are $32 and are available at Firehousetheatre.org, by phone at (804) 355-2001 and in person at the Firehouse Theatre Box Office, 1609 W. Broad Street. There will be a $15 preview night of the play held July 11 with seating based on availability.
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.
“These are great roles for actors, so let me find the actors that can really bring these roles to life.”April 23, 2015
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