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Deep Throat: To Be a Stage Play?

Boston- Skyrocketing rent is scaring Boston Costume right out of business.

But owner David Bertolino is working on a new venture where costumes, and clothing even, won’t take center stage – a Boston theatrical production based on the 1970s porn cult classic “Deep Throat.”, www.xxxdeepthroat.com

This is the last Halloween for his well-known Boston costume shop, which since 1972 has catered to trick-or-treaters, theater and TV productions, and celebs from Walter Cronkite to Bianca Jagger.

Boston Costume will close its Kneeland Street doors on Dec. 31. “It’s forced retirement,” Bertolino said. “I just can’t afford it.”

Bertolino started Boston Costume in 1972, operating out of his father’s Little Jack Horner Joke & Magic Shop in Boston before moving to his present location on the cusp of Chinatown in 1986.

“This was the least expensive Boston retail environment, and now it’s not anymore,” he said. “I’m not the only one whining about high rents, but it kind of hits home when you’ve done business for 34 years in the city, and now you can’t even be part of it anymore.”

Boston Costume will liquidate its inventory, including rental costumes, with a half-price sale that starts Nov. 1. Bertolino, who sold the rights to his longtime Spooky World theme park business earlier this year, will remain in the costume business as national sales manager for Charades LLC, a wholesale California costume company.

It was Charades that led him to train his focus on “Deep Throat,” the adult film starring porn queen Linda Lovelace. Bertolino was showing some of Charades’ sexy costumes at a lingerie show, when he was approached by someone [Robert Interlandi] from the company that owns the “Deep Throat” rights.

Charades subsequently created a Lovelace nurse costume and a Harry Reems doctor costume (he played Dr. Young in the movie) that are sold at lingerie stores across the country. Bertolino, 52, went on to write a play about the lives of Lovelace, Reems and director Gerard Damiano, and purchased the rights to bring it to the stage. He’s in talks with two Boston theaters to introduce “Deep Throat” to local audiences in May before taking the production to New York. The theater owners need a little coaxing to lift certain “restrictions,” according to Bertolino. “There’s a little bit of controversy linked to it, obviously, because of the subject matter,” he said.

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