Lovelace: A Rock Opera
“Poor Linda Lovelace’s unique saga—’70s sexual-excess poster-child turned living witness for the anti-porn backlash—is told with dogged literalness” in Lovelace: A Rock Opera, said Bob Verini in Variety. Based on two of the Deep Throat star’s four autobiographies, the musical first follows Lovelace’s journey from “suburban sweet young thing into the bondage of sexual Svengali Chuck Traynor.” Traynor marries Linda, then forces her into prostitution. The couple meets would-be filmmaker Gerard Damiano, who casts her in the most famous pornographic film of all time. Deep Throat’s success had a profound effect on American sexual mores in the 1970s, but took a direct toll on Lovelace in the form of drug addiction and sexual torture. Lovelace never really taps the emotion of the tale, however, and the libretto, by Anna Waronker and Charlotte Caffey, “lacks a shred of poetry or point of view.”
The music is a whole different story, said Amy Nicholson in the LA Weekly. Caffey was part of the 1980s girl-group the Go-Go’s, and Waronker played with rock group That Dog in the 1990s. They know a thing or two about crafting a pop song, so even when the lyrics are at their bleakest, the songs have an unmistakable “pop catchiness.” Then there’s Katrina Lenk, who is sensational in the title role. Embodying the nymphal naughtiness that gave Lovelace her mass appeal, she seems to have “a dozen nuanced smiles that range from innocent and shattered to grateful,” which she can summon to set the requisite mood. Most of all, she makes Lovelace seem less a victim than a tragic heroine.