We love Hans Berlin naked, but when the curtain rises on Shooting Star - A Revealing New Musical next month, Berlin will not only be fully clothed (boo!), he won’t even be on stage. And he’s just fine with that.
That's not surprising. He’s shown his Heavy Load for Titan, joined the San Francisco Meat Packers for Raging Stallion, been a Working Class Stiff for Dragon Media and played a cheating husband in need of The Therapist for Icon Male. And that’s just scratching the surface of one of porn’s most lasting personas. He's earned himself some time to look smashing in a suit...one that he actually keeps on (and he always looks smashing in a suit!).
Since joining the industry in 2012, Berlin has been one of the most prolific and popular performers in the business. He’s also one of the most affable—a trait that fans are well aware of (that is, if they haven’t been too distracted by his physique and sexual prowess to notice). But his most important role is yet to come as his labor of love nears fruition.
“What’s important is we’re not giving the audience something they think they would hear in a show about porn—that we’re all bad people and we all have a drug addiction, and we do porn because we were pushed into it," he says. "It’s not that at all. It’s a show about human beings. We’re showing the human side of porn, we’re showing that we’re all just people."
Shooting Star opens May 25 at the prestigious Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood for six weeks. The show is described as a musical love story set in the world of gay porn, based on the semi-autobiographical tale of Berlin. His true story finds life in lead character Taylor—a young, struggling Hollywood actor who rockets to stardom as porn performer Taylor “TNT” Trent.
Through Taylor’s eyes, Berlin—who developed the concept, wrote the story and serves as executive producer—introduces us to a family of “lovable misfits whose profession is making our wildest fantasies come alive” (including mr. Sue, based on award-winning NakedSword director mr. Pam). But as Taylor achieves fame, he discovers that the life he dreamed of may not be the one he truly wants.
“One of the things that also encouraged me to do this is to show everyone that this is a job for most of us, and it’s a job that a lot of people chose to do. Sure, I would have rather become a Hollywood movie star than a porn star; but at the same time, when I was in L.A. working on my acting career, a lot of famous mainstream performers passed away from some personal struggles,” Berlin says.
“So the question always is, what would have become of me if I had become successful in mainstream entertainment? Is that always a guarantee for more happiness? And that’s what I wanted to show with Shooting Star—bridging differences by educating people in a nice and entertaining way. That’s why it’s a musical.”
It’s a story tailor-made for industry fans, and that’s a draw Berlin hopes will propel the show to an even bigger audience.
“Our fans love porn, and they also love the performers. They want to have a connection with the performers, and they are our friends. And they can become friends of the project and support this journey—and help us bring porn out of the shadows. I love my fans. When I do live appearances, they are the people who stand there with teddy bears and want to give me a hug. They see that we are not the bad ‘sex animals’ that mainstream media often portrays us as.”
To that end, Berlin has helped spearheaded a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo to help fans truly become part of the process and help him offset production costs.
“Because of the subject matter of the show, I didn’t find a producer that wanted to produce it, so I’m self-producing it now—which means I’m single-handedly raising the money,” Berlins says, adding that he has received sponsors that he is grateful for, including Falcon Studios Group. “I’m always honored when they see the idea and believe in the project and believe in me.”
Berlin notes that any donation is valuable. Perks include a social media shout-out for a $10 donation; a personalized picture for $20; a merchandise package or personalized cast message for $40; a video message from Berlin for $75; a pair of his underwear for $150; and various VIP packages that range from $300 to $5,000 (the latter including an opening-night date with Berlin).
“We want people to help us make Shooting Star be as great as it deserves to be. We want to bring Broadway to L.A.”
Fans are encouraged to check out the project’s Indiegogo page for more information, and individuals or companies interested in partnership and investment opportunities can contact ShootingStarTheMusical@gmail.com.