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My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Songs and Screams 2: The Halloween Show - Nathaniel Bacon and guests celebrate "the unholiest day of the year"

by Drew Rowsome

"I love horror," says Nathaniel Bacon excited to announce Songs and Screams 2: The Halloween Show. "I love its power. And the power of fear can be a potent tool for storytelling and a great conduit for change. Above all else, it can be a thrill, a genuine visceral thrill that makes you think. And hopefully makes you scream."

But Bacon is also skilled in the "song" part of the occasion. While he was a sensation competing in Queer Idol and his roles in BentSt Francis of MillbrookSherlock and Watson: Behind Closed DoorsMy Dinner with Casey Donovan and multiple television guest roles, brought him acclaim, it was his singing, dancing and strutting lead role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch that won awards and cemented his rising star status.

And it doesn't hurt that Sky Gilbert devotes a considerable part of his new book Sad Old Faggot extolling Bacon's talent and, well, another attribute. Grace under pressure personified, Bacon sang at Sad Old Faggot's book launch, turning in a soulful set after a ribald excerpt and introduction by Gilbert. "I had a great time at Sky's book launch," says Bacon. "It was nice to do something stripped down and acoustic. But Songs and Screams 2: The Halloween Edition will be the opposite. It will follow the same basic framework as the first Songs And Screams. But in true sequel tradition, it will be bigger and bloodier."

Songs and Screams 2 is a fundraiser for Bacon's theatre company Dirty Bird Productions. "Our long term goal is to become the Toronto hub for Canadian horror," he explains. "We want to foster the growth of new homegrown work and also provide a home for the best in international horror/thriller shows." And the lead up to Halloween is the perfect time for fusing music and horror.

The first Songs and Screams was a rocking success so "The whole band is back, along with music director Mike Ross and the incredible Kit Boulter," says Bacon. "The setlist will be highly eclectic. Rock, pop, country, funk . . . nothing is off limits. Fan favorite Melissa Azore is returning as a special guest. Elley-Ray had a cameo in the first show (as the voice of Mother in Psycho), but this time she'll be there, live, with a bigger piece of the pie. We're so excited to have such a phenomenal actress on our team. It will be a night filled with scary stories, live music and celebration."

Though Bacon will undoubtedly command centrestage, the audience will have a chance to shine. "Guests are invited to dress up," he says. "Those who come in costume will receive a special trick or treat, and the winner as voted by the audience will receive a prize." Bacon promises more music, more horror, more camp and "more blood. Our goal is too erase the line between guilty pleasure and art. And to celebrate the unholiest day of the year."

Photos by Mitchel Raphael. mitchelraphael.com

Songs and Screams 2: The Halloween Show is on Tues, Oct 25 at The Social Capital Theatre, 154 Danforth Ave. facebook.com/dirtybirdtheatre

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