Taboo opened on 29 January 2002 (previews from 11 January) at The Venue - a theatre space specially created for the production in the crypt of a church off Leicester Square - and is due to transfer to Broadway later this year where, as previously tipped, George himself is expected to reprise his role as the late performance artist Leigh Bowery.
The former Culture Club lead singer made his theatrical debut playing Bowery in May 2002 and has returned several times to the part, which he will now perform until the end of the London run. Also in the current cast of Taboo are Euan Morton, who was nominated for both an Olivier and a Whatsonstage.com Award for his portrayal of the young Boy George, Jackie Clune (Josie), Declan Bennett (Billy), Lucy Newton (Kim), Phil Nicol (Philip Sallon), Gary Amers (Marilyn), David Burt (Derek/Petal), Nathan Taylor (Steve Strange) and Gail MacKinnon (Big Sue).
Boy 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 story of Billy, an aspiring photographer who launches himself onto London's vibrant club scene during the "decadent" decade and finds romance in the process. Many of the era's most notorious personalities - including Marilyn, Steve Strange, Leigh Bowery, Philip Sallon and George himself - populate Billy's extraordinary journey.
While Taboo includes snippets of some Culture Club classics, George has written an original score with all-new songs including "Ode to Attention Seekers", "Stranger in this World", "Love Is a Question Mark", "Guttersnipe", "Touched by the Hand of Cool", "Out of Fashion" and "Pie in the Sky".
On Broadway, Taboo will be co-produced by American talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell and is expected to be substantially rewritten for the American audience. The London-based musical has a book by This Life writer Mark Davies, with designs by Tim Goodchild, lighting by Chris Ellis and choreography by Les Childs. It's directed by Christopher Renshaw, who won this year's popularly voted Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Director collectively for it and Queen musical We Will Rock You, and produced by Adam Kenwright.
- by Terri Paddock