Boy George Premieres '80s Musical Taboo, 29 JanDate: 31 October 2001
Flamboyant pop star Boy George will unveil his debut musical this January, but like the man himself, the show - entitled Taboo - will follow the unconventional from the start. Instead of an established theatre, Taboo will receive its world premiere at a reclaimed Leicester Square dance hall, The Venue, with an opening on 29 January following previews from 18 January 2002.
George was one of Britain's biggest stars in the 1980s and it's from that decade that he takes his inspiration for Taboo. It's the "decadent" decade in which Diana marries Charles, Margaret Thatcher rules politics, riots run through Brixton, Live Aid unites the world, the new romantics reign supreme, and the Queen's Silver Jubilee is still fresh in the minds of the Great British Public. According to promotional material, George's musical aims to bring to life this "vibrant era of colourful dreams, dazzling fashion, and the beginning of pop culture".
The show is also part stage autobiography, setting to music "a love story of passion, ambition and betrayal" which unfolds "alongside the journey of Boy George's rise and fall from international stardom". Casting has not yet been announced for the show, but George himself is unlikely to appear.
Taboo features 16 brand new songs by the singer as well as many of his classic hits including "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and "Karma Chameleon". The musical is directed by West End and Broadway veteran Chris Renshaw, whose credits include the revival of The King and I currently playing at the London Palladium as well as, coming up in May 2002, the fellow pop musical We Will Rock You, featuring songs by Queen and a book by Ben Elton.
Taboo has a book by This Life writer Mark Davies-Markham, with designs by Tim Goodchild, lighting is by Chris Ellis and choreography by Les Childs, who recently choreographed Robbie Williams' world tour. The show is produced by Adam Kenwright.
The Venue, also known as Notre Dame Hall, is a popular central London nightspot which has also been used for various play rehearsals and castings in the past. For the run of Taboo, initially booking for 20 weeks, it will be converted into a full-time 350-seat theatre.
Born George Alan O'Dowd in 1961, Boy George shot to fame in the 1980s as the androgynous and behatted lead singer of Culture Club. He has sold over 30 million records worldwide, including hit singles such as "I'll Tumble for Ya" , "The War Song" and "Church of the Poisoned Mind".
- by Terri Paddock