Joe Iconis and Kelly McIntyre Take Us Through "Love in Hate Nation" at Two River Theater

Nov 22, 2019

Kelly McIntyre and Amina Faye star in "Love in Hate Nation"
Credit T. Charles Erickson

The world premiere of the musical Love in Hate Nation is running at Two River Theater in Red Bank through December 1 with book, music and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis. Iconis thrilled audiences at Two River and then on Broadway with the sensation Be More Chill.

Love in Hate Nation is set in a National Reformatory for Girls and that’s where the character "Sheila Nail" falls in love with a 16-year old at the correctional facility.  "Sheila Nail" is portrayed by Kelly McIntyre in this turbulent rock romance.  McIntyre drew wide praise for her national tours of A Night with Janis Joplin

WBGO’s Doug Doyle sat down with Joe Iconis and Kelly McIntyre to talk about the creation and performance of Love in Hate Nation.

Iconis says he's glad to be back at Two River Theater with how his new show is being received.

"All my musicals that I've written focus on characters or types of people who normally might not get musical theater work written about them.  I tend to gravitate to musical moments that are like these tiny little personal moments that sort of get blown up into huge proportions.  I just writing about things that others might consider mundane or normal or not worthy of attention.  It's just sort of my thing."

Kelly McIntyre has performed in national tours of "A Night with Janis Joplin" and is thrilled to be in "Love in Hate Nation"
Credit Two River Theater

McIntyre says the show is so important in 2019 today.

"To hear this story that takes place in the 1960's these girls in the National Reformatory for Girls in our show are so young, 16 to 18 years old and they're so unapologetic with their feelings.  They definitely have to be low key about how their feeling because at the time society was so against what they believed in.  They believed that they loved each other, these women, they loved each other, these young girls and they had to keep that under wraps.  But I find it so inspiring that this story shows to young women being true to themselves and admitting in a time that was extremely challenging to admit that they have romantic feelings for each other.  And sadly enough today there are still issues like that.  I think today the story is...even though it's in juvy hall but we can't all relate to a time when we were silent with our feelings and didn't have the balls to admit it.  These deliquents are just doing it in front of our eyes in the 1960's, so what are we waiting for today?"  

McIntyre hopes the show will make it to Broadway like Be More Chill did.

"I think it's an amazing show and I can speak for everyone in the cast, they're so proud of it and excited about every performance that we do.  Joe's music needs to be heard around the world and I think this show is exactly what the Broadway community needs right now.  I hope everyone comes to see it in New Jersey."

Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis and WBGO News Director Doug Doyle at Two River Theater
Credit Cassie Galasetti for WBGO

Iconis has opened up the minds of younger theater goers as well as invited and encouraged new audiences with his work.

"I feel that and you know I feel that people coming to my musicals who maybe folks who haven't been to a lot of musicals before.  I've experience that so much in the last year.  People saying that Be More Chill was their first musical that they ever saw which I love but I love even more people who are theater people, be they young kids or older people who are really seeing themselves represented in the stuff that I'm doing.  You know that is something that really thrills me."

Click above to hear the entire interview with Joe Iconis and Kelly McIntyre.