Grindr The Opera is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, with musical styles ranging from contemporary pop to baroque. Four gay men, seeking different types of connection, intersect to hilarious and calamitous results in this sung-through musical parody that puts the gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. Now Grindr The Opera: The Original Cast Recording is available on iTunes and producer Peter Bull told us more.
“I first became aware of Grindr The Opera when I was searching for a ‘hit’ fluffy summer musical to produce. Something that would run through the tough summer months Off West End, then that would be the end of it and I would move onto the next project. What I hadn’t bargained for was an intelligent, incredibly clever and musically glorious show which would go on to win Best New Musical at the 2019 Off West End Awards.
Audiences loved the show so much that after an initial 10 week sold out run in the summer of 2018, I brought it back for a further 6 sold out weeks last February. As a producer, you can only guess what your audience wants to see and hope you get it right. I think Grindr The Opera works because the audience is genuinely surprised at how well the show is written.
Rachel Klein, who directed the original workshops and who will be directing the show Off Broadway gives us good insight. ‘It has pathos, a story and clearly drawn layered characters,” she says, “but that’s not something you think of when you think of Grindr. Because that gives you only the the one-sentence description. And this articulates why they choose what they say.’
With its incredibly catchy and contagious score, I was constantly asked if there would be a cast recording. Finally, at the end of last year the stars aligned and I managed with Erik Ransom and William Spencer, to get my cast together in a recording studio for three very long days to capture and record the spirit of the show.
They say musicals aren’t written, they are rewritten and this has been the case with Grindr The Opera. When I revived the show, Erik wrote a new song for Act 2 as I felt the story of Jack, the twink had never been resolved. Similarly, by the time we got to the recording studio he had put in changes to the libretto to reflect what will be performed Off Broadway later this year. With musical director Aaron Clingham’s gorgeous arrangements and orchestrations and the fabulous London cast, you can now download the opera onto your phone to listen to it as you visit Grindr the app!”
Grindr The Opera by its composer and librettist Erik Ransom
“Class and crass were the elements I sought to blend in the creation of this show. It’s right in the title: Grindr The Opera. Opera brings to mind tuxedos, elegant gowns and pearl necklaces. Grindr brings to mind bare torsos, leather harnesses and, well… pearl necklaces. This may not be opera in the traditional sense, but I would argue it fulfils all necessary prerequisites to be defined as such and, like all opera, it lives in a heightened world. I was interested in exploring and exaggerating themes that have become commonplace across the spectrum of queer culture in the Information Age, while paying occasional homage to iconic musical greats like Verdi, Wagner and, of course, The Village People.
I hope you’ll lose yourself in this eclectic musical world, which is frequently as frivolous as Figaro and at times as tragic as Tosca. I hope you’ll take differing sides in the disputes between the characters, because in my view there are no heroes or villains in this story. Grindr is neither good nor bad. It is, like its trademarked sigil, a mask. A guise to be donned by myriad men for a plethora of purposes.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my family, who indulged my aims to place a ‘Cum Dumpster’ aria into the operatic canon. I am so grateful to my collaborators Rachel Klein and Andy Peterson for nurturing a barely-legal twink of a musical into a seasoned, distinguished daddy of a show.
Immense thanks to Peter Bull, who arranged a fateful hook-up between this little smut opera and the amazing family in London, and to William Spencer, who helped bring this album to climax. Gratitude to Aaron Clingham for slapping and tickling my score into something fresh and new, whilst also reverent to its roots in operatic tradition.
Thank you to the London creatives and the stellar cast, crew and production team who mounted this show like it was a courtesy bottom. Thanks to Scott Brieden, for whom I deleted Grindr and, finally, thanks to you for taking the time to listen!”
Grindr The Opera Original Cast Recording is now available on iTunes.