Musicals that come with a celebrity name attached to the creative credits are nothing new: Comedian and musician Tim Minchin of course wrote the music and lyrics for the ever popular Matilda The Musical, and other big names such as Elton John (Billy Elliot), Brian May (We Will Rock You) and Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act) have all had some form of involvement in various theatrical productions.
Another well-known celebrity figure who has taken an interest in the world of theatre is ’80s pop icon Boy George, who was the lyricist for the 2002 stage musical Taboo. The singer collaborated with book writer Mark Davies and composers George and Kevin Frost on the show, which premiered in the West End at The Venue on 29th January 2002. It closed there on 26th April 2003, and after a subsequent Broadway transfer, it is now returning to our shores this year.
It was announced yesterday that a new production of Taboo will open at the new space of the Brixton Club House on 7th September 2012, where it is scheduled to run until 23rd December 2012. Original director Christopher Renshaw is the man behind this new ‘site-specific’ production, with the rest of the original creative team said to ‘actively support’ it – including Boy George. West End casting agent and ‘Search For A Twitter Star’ judge Anne Vosser is to cast the show, which featured the likes of Dianne Pilkington, Luke Evans and Euan Morton in the original London production.
The story of Taboo is centralised on Billy, an aspiring photographer who enters the ‘New Romantic’ club scene of the 1980s and there experiences the world of some of the era’s most renowned characters, such as Marilyn, Philip Sallon, Steve Strange, Leigh Bowery and of course Boy George, who he quickly attaches himself to as George’s star begins to rise with his band Culture Club. Taboo does pay homage to a number of Culture Club classics, but the show mainly features an original score with such songs as ‘Ode To Attention Seekers’, ‘Stranger In This World’, ‘Love Is A Question Mark’, ‘Out Of Fashion’ and ‘Pie In The Sky’, among many more.
Boy George (real name George O’Dowd) also starred in the original London production – although not as himself. He portrayed performance artist and club promoter Leigh Bowery, taking on the same role in the Broadway production which was produced by American television personality Rosie O’Donnell. Taboo struggled to find its audience over there however and closed after less than three months, causing O’Donnell to reportedly lose her entire $10 million investment.
The new London production is being produced by Danielle Tarento and Bronia Buchanan and is the first theatrical production to be held in the Brixton venue.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 7th June 2012