Twenty years ago, Colleen Gino was writing heartbroken 90s pop songs—songs designed to be marketable with lyrics she describes as stilted. Now without the pressure to sell her work, Gino writes whatever she wants, which happens to be songs about werewolves and their girlfriends, vampires and their familiars and Dr. Frankenstein’s victims.
Gino has written a horror rock musical, excerpts of which will be performed at WomenFest Saturday with her group Horror Chicks and Lunatics. The group has had initial meetings about potentially performing the whole show later this year.
“I wrote it just for me and so I thought, oh well it will be a one woman show that I’ll never put on,” said Gino. “But then a couple people in town, like Ben and Val Thomas, they’re really good musicians, and Francie Deters, they I think have been involved in musical theater and have said, you know, we’ve got to put this on.”
The musical’s premise is that a woman comes home to unwind after a stressful work week and falls asleep watching the horror channel. Then come the monster ballads.
“I just didn’t want to write serious stuff, so they’re either joke songs, occasionally they’re angsty songs, but no love songs, no real issues,” she said.
After her pop phase, Gino enjoyed writing kids’ songs for a while but in her 30s she put down the guitar entirely.
“I finally said, hey, I think I should have a real job and to make real money and then I didn’t do music for a long long long time, and now, I don’t need to do it for money,” she said.
With titles like “Maim, Mutilate, and Murder,” a bluesy number about a werewolf and their girlfriend, the rock musical explores the inner lives of horror’s favorite monsters. A vampire sings about their desire to find an eternal vampiric partner in a rock ballad, and their familiar answers with their own song.
“The familiar is ‘I can’t believe I’ve been here forever, I do everything for you and you just don’t even see me as a person that could be your love.’”
Some of the music is pure silliness, while other numbers are inspired by real life.
“One is kind of angsty. Instead of the walking dead, it’s the working dead and it’s expressing probably my frustration of going back to work after Covid and working from home so successfully and then finding workplaces so rigid. Bam, back to 8 to 5, Monday through Friday.”
Saturday’s performance won’t feature costumes or staging, but it will feature some superb local musicians.