Book and Lyrics by Jonathan Karp
Music by Seth Weinstein
Cast: 7 actors (4 men, 3 women)
Running time: 100 minutes (no intermission)
Heart Throb is a contemporary romantic comedy
about a cerebral literature professor who, to his dread, discovers he
can make people fall in love with each other when he sings the kind of
sentimental songs he loathes.
Professor Anthony Jasper is beginning his first year as
a professor of literature at a small liberal-arts college. He is a man
of erudition and taste, a discriminating critic who sincerely believes
that the root of all evil in modern society can be traced directly to
Olivia Newton-John's 1974 recording of "I Honestly Love
Jasper can explain his aversion to all things romantic
in precise academic terms, but his theories may also relate to his
father, Teddy, who abandoned the family years ago to pursue a career as
a lounge singer in Las Vegas. Teddy has recently returned home for a
rapprochement with his son and is playing piano at the only hotel bar in
Jasper begins to teach an unruly class of students,
including a particularly assertive blonde named Rachel Romero, who
challenges his theories. On the home front, Jasper is also confronted by
his long-time girlfriend, Margo, who has become frustrated with his
denunciations of love. Margo wants to see some passion.
Forced to articulate why he believes love - and love
songs - are pointless, Jasper cynically sings his father's favorite
ditty, "(You Make My) Heart Throb." But as Jasper sings,
strange things happen to the people around him - kissing, groping,
unprovoked displays of public affection. Jasper is alarmed and
nauseated. Meanwhile, two local music producers, Rocky Valentine and
Herbie Stone, see an easy buck in Jasper's talent and offer the
professor a record deal.
As Jasper begins to wield his power as a human aphrodisiac, he is forced to rethink his assumptions about love,
particularly with regard to his father, his girlfriend, and his best
student, whose interest in Jasper is not just intellectual.
At turns romantic and comically absurd, Heart Throb asks
this question: Can life ever live up to the love songs? By the end of
this musical journey, Professor Anthony Jasper finds his answer.