What if you threw your own sci-fi hip-hop musical and nobody came? “The seat count was 18 out of 803,” says Keven Porter Jr., who rented the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on January 22 for a theatrical production of his concept album Keven Darklight, in which he portrays the title character. “My promoters failed to reach the demographics I had encouraged them to go after. They have since apologized.”
Preferring to be called just “Keven,” he describes the project as akin to “Ziggy Stardust, a cool and honored comparison to Mr. Bowie. Within us all there is light and darkness, a dormant Hyde to our exterior Doctor Jekyll. On this record, it is the dark within, the inner conflicted Mr. Hyde, which takes the forefront. Much of what I lyrically pull comes from my own inner strife.”
As for the three-act show witnessed by those 18 people in Poway, Keven (email handle “KevMegaStar”) says, “I utilized lighting effects and video projected on a gigantic cyclorama screen. There are several songs within my show that take on a theatrical appeal, with characters and props. As a theatrical arts graduate, it was important for me to bridge my acting abilities with my music.” Amidst his own costume changes, several local models enacted a runway fashion show during one song, while another tune found him singing to a female character dying of cancer.
“I had an actress portray my dying love interest, another a nurse, and a third [playing] an angel of God sent to retrieve her soul. All were in costume and acted out the death scene...in the end, the audience saw my dying love leave with the angel, and I alone onstage, staring at the chair she once sat in.”
Though he’s reluctant to discuss production cost, the Poway venue charges around $1400 per five-hour block, with additional hourly fees for technicians, box-office staff, and a house manager.
Keven graduated in 2000 from Poway High School, formerly attended by members of ’tween faves Allstar Weekend and blink-182 singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge. However, “When my promo team attempted to arrange a free concert [at Poway High], they were not simply told no but also verbally insulted by current office staff. [They were] very rude.”
On March 1, a long-form Keven Darklight video will be released online, including footage shot at the Poway Center performance.
“For the video, there will be no audience angles, and an audience cheer track will be added to the scene of me approaching the stage.”