- Taboo (musical)
"Taboo" is a musical with a book by
Mark Davies, (extensively re-written for the Broadway production by Charles Busch), lyrics by Boy George, and music by George and Kevan Frost.
Set in an abandoned
London warehouse, the partly imagined story of a group of club 'names' set in the location of what was the city's most fashionable club night, the now legendary 'Taboo' (1985- 87) of the title, which was the creation of Leigh Bowery, however George rarely attended the club night himself.
The show is based partly on the New Romantic scene of the 1980s; and at its core the life and career of colourful popstar Boy George, who rose to global prominence in the early 1980s with his band
Culture Cluband his contemporaries, including the performance artist and club promoter Leigh Bowery, the pop singer Marilyn, Blitz night- club host Steve Strange, later of the electro-pop group Visageand Philip Salon, Punk- groupie and Mud Club promoter. Although George was intimate with the central figures, there has been some artistic licence around relationships and timeframes for continuity, for example Bowery never attended 'The Blitz' nightclub as he living in Australia at the time.
The show premiered in London's West End at the newly opened Venue Theatre on
January 29, 2002. Comedian/talk show host Rosie O'Donnellwas so enamoured with it that she decided to finance a Broadway production. After 16 previews, it opened on November 13, 2003at the Plymouth Theatrewhere, hampered by mostly scathing reviewscite web
title=Rosie’s Bum R
work=Time Magazine] , it closed after 100 performances. The cast, directed by Christopher Renshaw, included Boy George (credited under his real name, George O'Dowd),
Euan Morton, Raúl Esparza, Sarah Uriarte Berry, and Jeffrey Carlson. O'Donnell reportedly lost her entire $10 million investment in the projectcite web
work=www. cnn. com] .
ongs - Original London Production & UK tour
* Ode To Attention Seekers (Philip Sallon and ensemble)
* Safe In The City (Billy)
* Freak (Philip Sallon)
* Stranger In This World (George)
* Genocide Peroxide (Marilyn)
* I'll Have You All (Leigh Bowery)
* Love Is A Question Mark (Billy and Kim)
* Shelter (Petal)
* Pretty Lies (Kim and George)
* Guttersnipe (George and Marilyn)
* Talk Amongst Yourselves (Josie)
* Do You Really Want To Hurt Me (George)
* Touched By The Hand Of Cool (Leigh Bowery and ensemble)
* Church of the Poison Mind
* Stranger In This World (reprise);Act II
* Everything Taboo (Leigh Bowery and ensemble)
* Independent Woman (Josie, Kim and Philip Sallon)
* I See Through You (Billy)
* Petrified (Philip Sallon)
* Ich Bin Kunst (Leigh Bowery)
* Out Of Fashion (Steve Strange, Marilyn, Billy, Philip Sallon)
* Il Adore (Big Sue)
* Pie In The Sky (George, Billy)
* Bow Down Mister (George and ensemble)
* Karma Chameleon (ensemble)
ongs - Broadway version
* 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
* Love Is a Question Mark
* Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
* Church of the Poison Mind/Karma Chameleon;Act II
* Everything Taboo
* Talk Amongst Yourselves
* The Fame Game
* I See Through You
* Ich Bin Kunst
* Out of Fashion
* Il Adore
* Come on in From the Outside
Characters, Original London Production & UK tour
* Billy - the protagonist, Billy is an aspiring photographer. Frustrated with suburban life in Bromley, he runs to London('Safe in the city') to make his fortune. There he meets Philip Sallon, who introduces him to Kim and George. He soon falls in love with Kim, and attaches himself to George's rising star. Not based on any one real life person.
* Kim - an aspiring punk fashion designer and George's squat-mate. Kim is fiery but insecure, rarely emerging from behind her makeup. She ran away from home at 15, and her mother was too drunk to come looking for her. Not based on any one real life person.
* George - Artist, poet, singer/songwriter George O'Dowd is shown before and during his initial success, as a supporting role. He takes an immediate shine to Billy. Thrives on attention and shocking others, never appears dressed conventionally. Originally played by
Euan Morton, who Boy George said was 'more Boy George than I am'.
Leigh Bowery- flamboyant Australian designer and performance artist. He delights in antagonising Kim, and is constantly surrounded by a gaggle of admirers/slaves. Absorbs Billy into his flock.
* Philip Sallon - the second person Billy meets in London, who takes him to Kim and George's squat. Opens the show. Character based on a real person.
* Josie - Billy's mother, who later becomes Kim's best friend and business partner. Not based on any one real life person.
* Marilyn - another of the
Blitz Kids, Marilyn is first George's rival, then best friend.
* Janey - a reporter for the Sun newspaper, who has a connection to George.
Steve Strange- doorman at the Blitz club, and singer with the group Visage who achieved success with 'Fade to Grey'. Good natured rival of George.
* Derek - Billy's father. Violent, drunk and homophobic, he beats up Philip for verbally teasing him. Not based on any one real life person.
* Petal - scary cross-dressing drug pusher. Not a convincing woman, just a violent man in a miniskirt. In previews Petal killed Billy near the end of the show. Based on a very real person.
* Big Sue - Leigh's main assistant and confidante. Character based on
Sue Tilley.cite web
title=The Ballad of Big Sue
* Gary/Guru Dazzle - the bouncer at the Blitz club, who becomes a Krishna devotee.
Awards and nominations
Tony Awardfor Best Original Score (nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Morton, nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Esparza, nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Costume Design (nominee)
Theatre World Award(Morton, winner)
Drama Desk Awardfor Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Morton, nominee)
*Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Esparza, winner; Carlson, nominee)
*Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics (nominee)
*Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music (nominee)
* [http://www.t101.com/sites/taboo/ Official Site]
* [http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=13492 Internet Broadway Database listing]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/review/0,,720747,00.html Review] by Lyn Gardner,
The Guardian, May 23, 2002.
* [http://americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/detail/raul_esparza/ Raul Esparza] - "Downstage Center" interview at American Theatre Wing.org, April 2005
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