The logic goes something like this: Gay men love theatre, and gay men love porn, so if you take gay-porn stars and put them on the legitimate stage in works tailor-made to highlight their most recognizable assets, gay men will flock to the theatre in droves.
Argue the finer points if you will, but it's a formula that's worked like gangbusters over the past decade, yielding a string of hits in major cities from coast to coast. Now comes My Boyfriend the Stripper, the latest play to vie for gay dollars using the far-from-secret weapon of the gay-porn celebrity with top billing -- in this case, red-hot newcomer Rhett O'Hara.
The Washington production of My Boyfriend the Stripper, now playing at Source Theatre, marks the romantic comedy's world premiere. Interestingly, though, the script by Craig Fox and Ronnie Larsen, a genre veteran whose credits include Making Porn, is recycled from Fox and Larsen's Girl Meets Girl, a nod to the lesbian market that was originally produced under female pseudonyms for the playwrights.
O'Hara, a 27-year-old actor with nearly a dozen gay adult films under his belt in little more than a year, makes his stage debut as David, an aspiring photographer in San Francisco who's trying to move beyond his career in the adult entertainment industry when he falls in love with Adam, a magazine editor whose friends hire David to strip at Adam's 40th birthday party.
"It's not too far-fetched from what I already do," says O'Hara, who also supplements his acting work with erotic dancing gigs in New York and south Florida, where he makes his home.
"David is actually quite in-depth," O'Hara says, "with realistic feelings -- and he's in touch with himself and other people. The play basically says that you can find love in unlikely places. It's really neat, and it's funny."
O'Hara was recommended to My Boyfriend the Stripper producer Caryn Horwitz, a longtime Larsen collaborator, by adult film industry insiders who praised O'Hara's natural acting ability. Says O'Hara: "Porn movies give you a certain satisfaction, but acting [on stage] can give you so much more. Hopefully I'll pull the role off the way it should be played, and maybe that'll lead to more theatre work." -- Jonathan Padget
My Boyfriend the Stripper continues through April 13th at Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street NW. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 866-468-3399. Visit www.ticketweb.com.