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Taboo News


Delayed Gratification: Boy George Musical Taboo Delays Start of Performances

By Andrew Ku
October 23, 2003

One the the season's biggest question marks — the Rosie O'Donnell-produced musical Taboo — will remain one for four more days, as the start of preview performances has been pushed back from Oct. 24 to Oct. 28.In a statement, O'Donnell said, "We are behind in running the technical elements of the show through. Out of necessity for the safety of the actors and crew and out of respect for the audience seeing the best possible show, we are delaying the start of previews until Tuesday evening, Oct. 28."

A week ago, director/choreographer Jeff Calhoun (Grease!, Big River) was brought in as a "choreographic consultant" to the creative team of the musical.

Patrons with tickets to the cancelled performances may exchange them at the point of purchase – either the Plymouth Theatre box office (236 West 45th St.) or by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200.

Despite the delay in preview performances, Taboo's official opening remains Nov. 13.

Co-produced with Adam Kenwright, Taboo is set in London in the early eighties and focuses on two young men: anarchic performance artist-designer Leigh Bowery and a young, rough-edged boy who becomes a surprising crossover star, Boy George. The stories of Bowery and George are told against the background of the London club Taboo. The musical officially opens Nov. 13.

Taboo stars George O'Dowd (aka Boy George) as Leigh Bowery, Euan Morton as Boy George, Sarah Uriarte Berry as Nicola, Raúl Esparza as Philip Sallon, Liz McCartney as Big Sue, Cary Shields as Marcus and Jeffrey Carlson as Marilyn. Donnie R. Keshawarz is the standby for the characters Philip Sallon and Leigh Bowery. The company comprises Jennifer Cody, Dioni Michelle Collins, Brooke Elliott, Lisa Gajda, Bob Gaynor, Curtis Holbrook, Lori Holmes, Jennifer Mrozik, Nathan Peck, Alexander Quiroga, Asa Somers, Denise Summerford, Jody Reynard, James Tabeek and Gregory Treco.

Christopher Renshaw directs the new musical, which began life at London’s Venue in January 2002. That production played its final performance April 26. Mark Dendy choreographs the Broadway mounting, with Big River director Jeff Calhoun serving as choreographic consultant. The remainder of the creative team comprises John McDaniel (musical supervision), Tim Goodchild (scenic design), Mike Nicholls and Bobby Pearce (costume design), Natasha Katz (lighting design), Jonathan Deans (sound design) and make-up and hair design (Christine Bateman).

Charles Busch, the acclaimed playwright-performer who scored a success with the Tony-nominated The Tale of the Allergist's Wife , has rewritten the book for the Broadway production based on Mark Davies' original script. In a recent interview for Playbill On-Line, Busch explained, "It really is a brand-new book. In London the protagonist was a fictional character named Billy, and Boy George, the character, was sort of a supporting character, and I thought [that] the one I'm interested in is Boy George, and I'd like to see his story front and center. So that's the really big change I did. I cut Billy and Billy's mother."

Boy George, who portrays Leigh Bowery in the musical, said that the revised version brings out more of an "emotional aspect of the characters. There were a lot more characters in the London show, and I think what Rosie decided to do, which I think was a very sensible move, was to hone in on key characters and bring out their emotional elements, rather than just have surface characters that looked great but didn't have much mind, body and soul. So, I think in that respect, it's a better show. I'm playing Leigh, and it's much more enjoyable for me to play Leigh in New York because Leigh's a real person now. He's a person with a life outside of clubbing. He has a wife, he has domestic problems. He goes up and down, so it's really fun for me to play it."

Song titles include "Freak/Ode to Attention Seekers," "Stranger in This World," "Safe in the City," "Dress to Kill," Genocide Peroxide," "I'll Have You All," "Sexual Confusion," "Pretty Lies," "Guttersnipe," "Love Is a Question Mark," "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," "Touched By the Hand of Cool," "Everything Taboo," "Talk Amongst Yourselves," "The Fame Game," "I See Through You," "Ich Bin Kunst," "Petrified," "Out of Fashion," "Il Adore" and "Come On in From the Outside."

Producer O'Donnell summed up the message of the musical, which she encountered in London and decided to bring to New York. "You have to be taught to hate and fear," O'Donnell said, "and this show is about accepting others and yourself and how we're all the same. I think every great musical sort of has that message. That's what the show is, and it is, innately, a love story."

The Plymouth Theatre box office is located in Manhattan at 236 West 45th Street. Tickets, priced between $80 and $100, are available through Telecharge, (212) 239-6200. For more information about the musical, visit www.tabooonbroadway.com.
playbill.com
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Tickets go on sale today for Taboo. Also, there will be the first of promotions happening in New York today via the internet on www.tabooonbroadway.com. Don't miss it!
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from playbill.com
Taboo Offers Internet Press Conference Sept. 3; Plymouth Box Office Opens Sept. 22
By Andrew Gans
22 Aug 2003
Taboo producer Rosie O'Donnell and its creator and star, Boy George, will be part of an internet press conference next month.
The Sept. 3 conference — held at Manhattan's Cyber Café on West 49th Street — will kick off the largest internet marketing campaign in Broadway history, which will include an e-mail blast to over three million people. That day, tickets for the Broadway musical set in a London club called Taboo will go on sale as well. The cyber event, scheduled from 11 AM to 1 PM will allow O'Donnell and Boy George to meet the online media and discuss the show's online outreach. The conference will also include an on-line fan chat to be hosted by WPLJ's Race Taylor.
In a statement, former talk-show host O'Donnell said, "I love the web. I live on the web. I surf the web. My show is on the web.” Taboo's associate producer Daniel McDonald added, “The Internet enables us to get news and information about Taboo directly to consumers and create a dynamic relationship with the show's fans. Our strategy also recognizes the importance of the Internet as a sales channel for theatre tickets.”
Those sites participating in the event include AOL.com, Rolling Stone.com, WPLJ.com, Planetout.com, Advocate/Out.com, Gay.com, Rosie.com, VillageVoice.com, TimeOutNY.com, PaperMag.com, TheatreMania.com, NewYorkMagazine.com, Playbill.com, NJ.com, NYPost.com, NYTimes.com, Newsday.com, WSJ.com, the newsmarket.com, AmericanExpress.com and Telecharge.com.
Taboo begins performances at the Plymouth Theatre Oct. 24 with an official opening scheduled for Nov. 13. The box office at the Plymouth will open Sept. 22.
The cast of Taboo features Sarah Uriarte Berry, Raúl Esparza, Liz McCartney, Euan Morton (as Boy George), George O’Dowd (as Leigh Bowery) and Cary Shields. The company comprises Jennifer Cody, Dioni Michelle Collins, Brooke Elliott, Lisa Gajda, Bob Gaynor, Curtis Holbrook, Lori Holmes, Jennifer Mrozik, Nathan Peck, Alexander Quiroga, Asa Somers, Denise Summerford, Jody Reynard, James Tabeek and Gregory Treco.
Christopher Renshaw directs the musical, which began life at London’s Venue in January 2002. That production played its final performance April 26. Mark Dendy will choreograph the Broadway mounting, and the remainder of the creative team comprises John McDaniel (musical supervision), Tim Goodchild (scenic design), Mike Nicholls and Bobby Pearce (costume design), Natasha Katz (lighting design), Jonathan Deans (sound design) and make-up and hair design (Christine Bateman). Charles Busch has written a new book for the Broadway production based on material by Mark Davies.
Set in London in the early eighties, Taboo focuses on two young men: anarchic performance artist-designer Leigh Bowery and a young, rough-edged boy who becomes a surprising crossover star, Boy George. The stories of Bowery and George are told against the background of the London club Taboo.
The Plymouth Theatre is located at 236 West 45th Street. Tickets, priced between $80 and $100, will be available through Telecharge, (212) 239-6200. For more information about the musical, visit www.tabooonbroadway.com.
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Taboo Delays Previews to Oct. 24; Tickets on Sale Sept. 3
By Andrew Gans
07 Aug 2003
The new Boy George musical Taboo — produced by Rosie O'Donnell and Adam Kenwright — will now begin previews Oct. 24.
Originally scheduled to start performances Oct. 21, the date change was recently made to accommodate a delay in the start of rehearsals. A spokesperson for the production also confirmed that tickets for the eagerly awaited musical will now go on sale Sept. 3 through Telecharge. The box office at the Plymouth Theatre will begin selling tickets to the musical Sept. 22. Taboo officially opens Nov. 13.
To date, the cast of Taboo includes George O'Dowd (Leigh Bowery), Euan Morton (George O'Dowd), Raul Esparza (Philip Sallon), Sarah Uriarte Berry (Nicola), Cary Shields (Marcus) and Liz McCartney (Big Sue). The role of Marilyn — described in a recent casting notice as "male, 20's, any ethnicity; a masculine drug addict and drag queen with excellent comic chops and strong pop/rock singing voice; a physically beautiful boy" — has not yet been cast.
The Taboo ensemble comprises Jennifer Cody, Dioni Michelle Collins, Lisa Gajda, Bob Gaynor, Curtis Holbrook, Lori Holmes, Jennifer Mrozik, Nathan Peck, Alexander Quiroga, Asa Somers, Denise Summerford, Jody Reynard and Gregory Treco.
Christopher Renshaw directs the musical, which began life at London’s Venue in January 2002. That production played its final performance April 26. Mark Dendy will choreograph the Broadway mounting, and the remainder of the creative team comprises John McDaniel (musical supervision), Tim Goodchild (scenic design), Mike Nicholls and Bobby Pearce (costume design), Natasha Katz (lighting design), Jonathan Deans (sound design) and make-up and hair design (Christine Bateman). Charles Busch has written a new book for the Broadway production based on material by Mark Davies.
Set in London in the early eighties, Taboo focuses on two young men: anarchic performance artist-designer Leigh Bowery and a young, rough-edged boy who becomes a surprising crossover star, Boy George. The stories of Bowery and George are told against the background of the London club Taboo.
The Plymouth Theatre is located at 236 West 45th Street. Tickets, priced between $80 and $100, will be available through Telecharge, (212) 239-6200. For more information about the musical, visit www.tabooonbroadway.com.

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TALK ABOUT TABOO!
by Paul Wontorek
July 1, 2003
How do you sell a musical centered on '80s pop star Boy George and his real-life friends: obscure British club dwellers like Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange, Philip Sallon and Marilyn? Boldly, if you're first-time talk show queen-turned-theater producer Rosie O'Donnell.

Bringing to mind the life of another British pop export--George Michael--O'Donnell and her Taboo cohorts unveiled a teaser billboard for the show in Times Square depicting a scene of gay bathroom cruising. In the background, a businessman in a suit stands at a graffiti-covered urinal, his head slightly turned. In the foreground, late club star Bowery (depicted by George in the show) is seen in full drag (with cleavage to boot!), blue wax dripping on his bald head, looking up at the logo for the show (which hasn't changed from the London production).

Taboo indeed. But what exactly does the poster have to do with the show, which initially promised to be a celebration of 1980s London (complete with Boy George hits "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" and "Karma Chameleon")? After a bit of digging, I learned that the character of Bowery makes a joke in the show about meeting some of his best friends in the men's room. Thankfully the producers of last year's short-lived bestiality drama The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? didn't take such literal measures in advertising Martin's dalliances with Sylvia!

It seems this first poster was specifically timed to appear in conjunction with last week's Gay Pride Parade, indicating that the producers are targeting gay ticket buyers with the image that now awkwardly looms over the tourist-friendly TKTS booth in Duffy Square. Here's hoping they can actually find that audience, which hasn't been able to keep other gay-friendly shows like The Last Sunday in June and Zanna, Don't! alive in off-Broadway houses one-fifth the size of the Plymouth, Taboo's future home.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, or rather the show itself, which opens on November 13. I hear that the American script has undergone several major rewrites even since Charles Busch started working on it earlier this year through a series of top-secret readings starring various Broadway talents that were dropped and swapped from reading to reading. Now that the final cast is pretty much set, the company will begin readying for one last reading prior to the official start of rehearsals in late August.

Certainly O'Donnell and company aren't the only producers in town trying to push a tricky new musical on the ticket-buying public. Also in the wings: a bio-tuner about a gay songwriter who's barely remembered by the under-40 set (The Boy from Oz), a post-modern prequel to a beloved children's story (Wicked) and a Fred and Ginger musical without Fred and Ginger (Never Gonna Dance). Hard to say who will be on top by year's end, but I'd put money on Hugh Jackman in The Boy from Oz if I were a betting man. I saw the invitation-only workshop last year and even though the show is mushy and manipulative, it made me cry and Mr. Wolverine just oozes charisma. I'd guess he'll wind up on the stage of Radio City Music Hall once again at next year's Tonys--to collect his own. Wow, am I getting ahead of myself or what?

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Sarah Uriarte Berry & Raúl Esparza Join Taboo
Broadway.com has learned that Sarah Uriarte Berry and Raúl Esparza will both appear in the upcoming Broadway musical Taboo. They join previously announced stars Boy George and Euan Morton.

Berry, who will play Leigh Bowery's muse Nicola (a character added for the American production), has appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast. She also starred in the tour of the Royal National Theater's production of Carousel and appeared in the pre-Broadway tryout of Thoroughly Modern Millie, in which she played Dorothy. Last summer, she also participated in the Sondheim Celebration, playing Anne in A Little Night Music.

Esparza, who will play nightclub impresario Philip Sallon, most recently appeared on the New York stage in Trevor Griffiths' Comedians. He made his Theatre World Award-winning Broadway debut two seasons ago in The Rocky Horror Show, and went on to star in the off-Broadway production of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick… BOOM! and as the Emcee in Broadway's Cabaret. Last summer, Esparza was a big part of the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, playing George in Sunday in the Park With George and Charley in Merrily We Roll Along. He recently appeared in the new musical Green Violin at the Prince Music Theater. The actor was reportedly looking to star in the McCarter Theater production of Nilo Cruz' Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics this fall, but he is now out of that project. (Anna in the Tropics is scheduled to run at McCarter September 9 through October 19, so it would overlap with rehearsals for Taboo.)
Taboo, Boy George's musical ode to the 1980s, is scheduled to begin performances at the Plymouth Theatre on October 21 in preparation for a November 13 opening. Christopher Renshaw directs.

*courtesy of www.broadway.com 06/25/03