THE DEEP THROAT SEX SCANDAL Makes West Coast Premiere at Zephyr Theatre, 1/24

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The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, a new play by David Bertolino about the making of the famed, groundbreaking, 1970s pornographic film "Deep Throat" and the subsequent controversy the film ignited, will have its West Coast Premiere at the Zephyr Theatre for a six week engagement, beginning performances January 24, and opening January 31, 2013.

The production is directed by award-winning adult film writer-director Jerry Douglas, and will have different guest cast members every week: Amber Lynn and Bill Margold (Preview week January 24-27); Sally Kirkland and Bruce Vilanch (January 31-February 3); Nina Hartley and Christopher Knight (February 7-10); Georgina Spelvin and Ron Jeremy (February 14-17). Adult film stars Veronica Hart and Herschel Savage are part of the on-going, eight-actor company.

In The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, the true story will be revealed: In 1972, a hairdresser from the Bronx made a little movie that grossed over $600 million (possibly the most profitable film of all time) and ignited the sexual revolution. The Deep Throat Sex Scandal takes audiences behind the scenes, into the secret world of adult filmmaking and introduces them to the legendary Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. The play follows the bizarre journey from the creation of the movie, through the raids, arrests and the banning of the film, to the political fallout of the ensuing courtroom drama, which helped expand the career of high-powered attorney Alan Dershowitz.

Bertolino said of the trial, "Anyone who claims to value freedom of speech, but then believes sexual expression isn't protected, has now violated the most important principle of this freedom, which is that no man should be allowed to determine the fare chosen by another man for his personal consumption. This trial wasn't just about sexual free speech, but rather the slippery slope of censorship that starts with Nixon banning pornography because of its putative effects on society, and quickly escalates to Nixon silencing his political enemies under the cloak of protecting some other societal need."

The Deep Throat Sex Scandal contains adult themes and nudity; no one eighteen and under will be admitted. Tickets are available online at www.deepthroattheplay.com or by calling 800-838-3006. Special Guilty Pleasures premium-priced packages are also available. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m.

The first half of The Deep Throat Sex Scandal deals with the human drama and humorous making of the film. The second half details the lengths to which the film and in particular, one of its performers, was prosecuted or more accurately "persecuted" in the sanctimonious name of decency. When an overly zealous United States government went after the movie, and Harry Reems became an innocent victim of society's guilty pleasures, only a few liberal-minded souls -- including Oscar winners Warren Beatty, Tony Bill, Richard Dreyfuss, and Jack Nicholson -- rose to his defense; as they were realistically fearful that "The Inquisition Against X" would eventually be exacted upon all the other letters in the entertainment alphabet.

The Deep Throat Sex Scandal took five years to bring to the stage – and in 2010, when it opened Off-Broadway, David Bertolino's play had been through 14 drafts, 24 backers who invested close to $700,000 to mount the show, and featured a professional cast willing to strip to nothing.

Bertolino, a Boston-born costume salesman and developer of Spooky World (a Halloween fright park in Boston) was at an adults-only trade show in 2007 selling his costumes from a booth, when he happened to talk with the salesman of the nearby Arrow Productions booth. The Arrow rep was interested in selling Bertolino's sexy nurse uniform with Linda Lovelace's name printed on it. Bertolino immediately said, "We can't do that, we'd be sued," to which the Arrow rep countered with, "My boss owns the rights." And in fact, Arrow Productions owned the rights to Deep Throat, among many other classic adult titles. Bertolino then met Raymond Pistol, owner of Arrow, and Bertolino began to realize there was a play about the most famous sex movie of all time and the First Amendment.

One of the most famous films ever made – Deep Throat brought story, developed characters and higher production standards to pornography – and found a huge audience, media attention, and brought pornography to large audiences. The media labeled it "porno chic," despite the fact that the film was banned in many places in the United States and became the object of obscenity trials.

Deep Throat, the title, became a pop culture reference of the times – like lava lamps, eight-track tapes, black light posters, the Z Channel, "Oh, Calcutta!" and Ford Pintos, and it found its place with the contemporary films of the time as well –- "A Clockwork Orange," "The Godfather," "Cabaret," "Last Tango in Paris," "The Exorcist," "Dirty Harry," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Carnal Knowledge," "Fritz the Cat," "The Exorcist," and "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex." The nation was listening to "Let's Get It On," "Touch Me in the Morning," "Me and Mrs. Jones," "Little Willy," "Love Train," and "Last Night I Didn't Get to Sleep At All."

Deep Throat found its greatest fame when Woodward and Bernstein of the Washington Post, used the name Deep Throat as the pseudonym for their Watergate informant (later found to be W. Mark Felt). The film was banned in numerous communities in the United States and eventually found its way to court in obscenity trials. The ensuing publicity only made the film more popular, where it could be seen.

Dave Itzkoff, in New York Magazine wrote, "It wasn't until New York law enforcement took notice that Deep Throat became a blockbuster. The World Theater was raided three times in a single month. And by the time a New York judge ruled the movie obscene the following spring, the publicity surrounding its legal troubles had helped earn Deep Throat nearly $2 million in the city and made pornography a national obsession. Jackie O. saw it. Johnny Carson referenced it in his monologues. Ralph Blumenthal wrote in the New York Times that Deep Throat had become the "premier topic of cocktail-party and dinner-table conversation"; members of the newsroom staff had viewed it en masse.

Prosecutors went after the film with a vengeance – in August 1972, after a New York jury found the film not to be obscene, they went after different subjects – charging Mature Enterprises (owner of the World Theatre) for promotion of obscene material. Judge Joel J. Tyler then ruled the film obscene in March 1973 – fining Mature Enterprises $100,000, a fine later reduced on appeal. It became the most inexpensive publicity campaign in history, as the film went on to eventually gross $600 million on its original $25,000 investment – the most popular X-rated film ever made.

More cases followed – including federal cases in Memphis, Tennessee, where over 60 individuals and companies – including Deep Throat actor Harry Reems – were indicted for conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines. Deep Throat director Gerard Damiano and star Linda Lovelace exchanged testimony for immunity. Reems' indictment was the first time an actor was prosecuted by the federal government on obscenity charges since Lenny Bruce in the '60s. Reems then became a cause célèbre receiving much support from the Hollywood community. A young lawyer named Alan Dershowitz led the defense, and his conviction was overturned during an appeal.

Itzkoff, in New York Magazine said, "Reems immediately went to work to clear his name, setting up a legal-defense fund and retaining Alan Dershowitz for a possible appeal. He was the beneficiary of fundraising events thrown by the likes of Warren Beatty and editorials penned by writers across the political spectrum. A year later, he was finally granted a new trial (on the grounds that Deep Throat had been made before the Supreme Court's 1973 "contemporary community standards" ruling) and his conviction was overturned. 'Had Harry Reems been imprisoned, actors would be terrified to do anything even vaguely romantic,' says Brian Grazer, who produced the documentary Inside Deep Throat. 'All our rights in the area of freedom of speech would have contracted.'"

CREATIVE TEAM

Born and raised in the Boston area, David Bertolino created his first theatrical venture, Spookyworld, a Halloween theme park that has run for 21 years and, under Bertolino, showcased the talent of over 200 actors each evening. Guest stars included Linda Blair, Elvira, Alice Cooper, Robert Englund, Willard Scott, Bill Maher, and Jerry Springer, among others; David also produced the comeback career of Tiny Tim, presenting Tiny's wedding live on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno " from Spookyworld and hosting an episode of MTV's "The Real World." Many a career was launched for dozens of special effects directors and technicians as well. Spookyworld sold over a million tickets under Berolino's reign, during which time, he also partnered with the New England Patriots Football Team. The Deep Throat Sex Scandal is Bertolino's first foray into New York theater.

Director Jerry Douglas, a native of Iowa, attendEd Drake University and did his graduate work at the Yale School of Drama. Broadway and Off-Broadway plays he has written and/or directed include Rondelay, Circle in the Water, Score (where he discovered a young Sylvester Stallone, getting him his Equity card), Tubstrip, and Max's Millions. He also wrote the screenplay for Radley Metzger's film version of Score. In the early 1970s he directed two films, "The Back Row" and "Both Ways", then began to focus on a career as a free-lance journalist for such publications as The Advocate and Manshots. Among his more recent films are "More of a Man," "Kiss-Off," "Honorable Discharge," "Flesh & Blood," "Dream Team" and "BuckleRoos." Douglas is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Free Speech Coalition and was inducted in the AVN Hall of Fame in 1998.

THE DEEP THROAT SEX SCANDAL plays the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, Calif., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets: $34.99; Guilty Pleasures premium-priced packages also available. To purchase, go to www.deepthroattheplay.com or call 800-838-3006. The Deep Throat Sex Scandal contains adult themes and nudity; no one eighteen and under will be admitted.

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