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I'm glad I saw it when I did. A pity.

'TABOO' the Boy George Musical, to Close
Published: January 13, 2004
Filed at 8:47 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- 'Taboo', the Boy George musical brought to Broadway by Rosie O'Donnell, will close Feb. 8, losing all of its well-known producer's $10 million investment.

The show, which opened Nov. 13 to largely negative reviews and publicity, has struggled since then to reach its weekly break-even point, reportedly more than $400,000. Last week, according to the League of American Theatres and Producers, it grossed $281,333, filling only half the seats at the Plymouth Theatre.

```Taboo' was by far the most fulfilling experience of my career,'' O'Donnell said Tuesday in a statement. ``Many lessons were learned, and so it goes. For this experience, I am profoundly grateful and have no regrets.''

The cast was told of the closing before the Tuesday evening performance, said John Barlow, a spokesman for the show.

When ``Taboo'' closes Feb. 8, it will have played 16 previews and 100 performances.

O'Donnell put up all the money for ``Taboo'' herself.

``I always think: Go big or go home,'' O'Donnell said during a September new conference to promote the show. ``Taboo,'' the producer said, was ``a legitimate, knock-'em-down, leave-'em-screaming, worth-a-$100-a-seat Broadway show'' and predicted it would win the Tony Award for best musical.

O'Donnell was a hands-on producer for the musical, which has a mostly original score by Boy George. It tells the story of the 1980s English pop star, played by Euan Morton, as well as that of performance artist Leigh Bowery, portrayed by Boy George himself.

During the musical's turbulent preview period, O'Donnell brought in Jeff Calhoun as a "choreographic consultant" to help director Christopher Renshaw. The producer also reportedly battled with Raul Esparza, one of the performers in the show. He reportedly walked out of a rehearsal, but later returned.

O'Donnell originally had seen the musical in London where it had a 15-month run, and she decided to bring it to New York.

``If I can make this happen (on Broadway) it would be unreal,'' the producer said last September, recalling her decision. ``The score was brilliant. All I felt that was needed was ... some of the real story of what happened to these people being more accurately reflected.''

She then commissioned playwright Charles Busch, author of ``The Tale of the Allergist's Wife,'' to write a new book.
but 116 performances is hardly a failure. The show had so many good effects on the scene in general that from our vantage point it was a triumph -

George came back with a bang - reconnecting with old friends like us and inspiring New Kids to dress up and pour on the glitter. He also received glowing reviews for his score.

Leigh's legend is out there for whole new generations.

Charlie's Leigh Bowery movie got finished, and released.

The opening night party was a highlight for us as producers - it is not every day that you get to contribute to a friend's legacy on a grand scale..

So to everyone involved, Bravo, Brava and never mind the bollocks!
January 16, 2004 -- THE agent for a member of the "Taboo" creative team sat alone in Rosie O'Donnell's spacious office at 1500 Broadway.
He'd been summoned for a meeting with the novice Broadway producer because he'd had the temerity to point out her failure to honor a key point in her contract with his client.

As he sat contemplating the large bowl of candy corn she kept on her desk - handfuls of which she often consumed during production meetings - O'Donnell burst into the room and pointed a finger at him.

"When the book on 'Taboo' is written," she thundered, "you will be the villain!"

Then she stormed out, leaving him alone with the candy corn.

Well, it's time to write the book (or at least a farewell column) on "Taboo," a sad fiasco of a musical that will play its final performance Feb. 8.

But there are no "villains" in this story, really - just a volatile, distracted and ultimately ineffectual producer; a weak director; a timid bookwriter who watched his key scenes get cut because they couldn't be acted or directed properly; and a star, Boy George, who wrote a fine score (let's give him his due) but wasn't much of an actor.

One person involved in "Taboo" calls the show a "missed opportunity. There are a lot of really good things in it, there just wasn't anyone around who could pull it all together."

Set in the London nightclub scene of the early 1980s, "Taboo" is an autobiographical musical about Boy George and his relationship with fashion designer Leigh Bowery, who died of AIDS.

The musical was a minor success in London, where it ran for over a year in a small nightclub.

In retrospect, it might have been better off in a similar setting in New York.

But O'Donnell isn't one who thinks small, and so she blew "Taboo" up into a $10 million Broadway musical with new sets, costumes and a book by playwright Charles Busch.

O'Donnell hired Chris Renshaw, who directed the show in London, to stage it here.

But Renshaw came with baggage: His revival of "The King and I" in 1996 was brilliant, but a year later he was fired from "High Society" because of erratic behavior, and had pretty much been blackballed on Broadway.

O'Donnell knew Renshaw's history and, according to sources, had a "candid" conversation with him during which he assured her he was up to the job of directing "Taboo."

Busch, meanwhile, turned in a new script, a copy of which was obtained by The Post, that dramatized the relationship between Boy George and Leigh Bowery, and contained a key scene in which Boy George appears at Leigh Bowery's deathbed.

O'Donnell gave Renshaw a wide berth for the first few weeks of rehearsals while she concentrated on what turned out to be an ill-conceived marketing campaign for "Taboo."

And that's when things started to go off track.

Boy George, as Leigh Bowery, simply could not act emotional scenes with Euan Morton, who plays the young Boy George.

Renshaw was no help.

"Chris would say, 'Do you mind if we try this?' and if George didn't want to, then Chris would say, 'OK' and drop it," a source says. "The show was crying out for a director. It never had any guidance."

A member of the production staff says O'Donnell gave Renshaw "all the rope in the world to either swing like a star or hang himself. Unfortunately, he chose the latter."

Scenes Boy George could not act very well were either cut or replaced by songs.

"They were chipping away at Charles' book every day," says a production source.

Why didn't Busch fight for his work?

"Look, Charles isn't Arthur Laurents," this person says, referring to the famously tough bookwriter of "West Side Story" and "Gypsy."

"He doesn't like confrontation. And if they'd kept the scenes they would have been badly acted and badly directed."

(Ironically, critics would later complain that there was no connective tissue between Boy George and Leigh Bowery.)

When O'Donnell started coming to rehearsals, she knew immediately that the show was in trouble, sources said.

That's when the screaming matches began, culminating in the much-publicized blowup between O'Donnell and Raul Esparza, one of the show's stars, who felt the show was rudderless.

O'Donnell brought in a new choreographer, but when she tried to replace Renshaw with a new director, Boy George thwarted her.

"I felt it would be too disruptive," he later said.

By this time, O'Donnell was swamped by her courtroom battle with the publisher of her defunct magazine, Rosie, and, according to sources, seemed to give up on "Taboo."

Plans to postpone the opening were scrapped since, without a new director, there was no point in trying to salvage the show, and "Taboo" drifted to its sad opening night and a pummeling the next day by the critics.

"Taboo" has lost money every week, the houses are only about half full and one source says the atmosphere backstage is "depressing."

Renshaw pops in from time to time and encourages the actors to ad-lib.

And so Esparza now banters with the folks in the balcony, while Boy George makes jokes about Michael Jackson.

On Tuesday, when O'Donnell announced she was putting up the closing notice, Boy George, in a pouty mood, didn't show up for work.

He did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Busch, Renshaw or O'Donnell.

No villains here - just the weak, the timid, the lost.
A lot of people have been saying that this show belongs off or off-off-Broadway. While I am glad that Rosie brought it to to glorious gaudiness of Broadway, I think these pundits are onto something. The director in me really wants to revive this off or off-off sooner rather than later, maybe as early as 2006. The one thing that be-otch Reidel got right: Why do you hire Charles Busch and Mark Dendy then get spooked that the book is so Buschy, why do you hire Mark and complain that the choreography is too edgy---aren't you hiring Mark for exactly that edge (Ms. Sandy Sheets has one of the sharpest, smartest edges around for my money)? If I have anything to say about it this story ain't over yet.

Yours in Gaudy Gorgeousness,
Taboo's subject matter was for most Broadway customers just too esoteric. The idea of a gay-themed show was no doubt making the husbands of Broadway-bound wives all over America bellow "NO WAY!" So that demographic was totally unconsidered: the package deals, the hicks from the sticks, 'the folks' ... I mean The Post is evil but they clocked it on that level.

Alot more young (& poor old) fans would have gone just to see Boy George, if it had gone off- or off-off Broadway. But when you're going for the big hustle, you go for broke, and broke she went. Whoever revives this as more of a "boite" spectacle will surely have a real success.
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I think that is just for sure. Rosie was way out of touch with what is the real appeal of the show and had no awareness at all of the 'commercial' context where it would surely flourish. Forget the director, book writer, choreographer personnel problems, she needed a marketing consultant, that's all. B'way is the last place to try to educate consumers, you can only take the underground there after they've been converted to it or if you completely sanitize your product and turn it in to Starlight Express. Blue Man isn't on Broadway but it is in Vegas and a touring version does the provinces and in those locales it is still billed as "Strange" so it is not being appreciated for its art or content. Russell Simons threw millions at Def Poetry on Broadway and it tanked too. Rosie must have been plain delusional to think that just laying out a huge block of money would ensure audience appreciation. But then putting the musical in a modest sized venue is not a move consistent with her personality. It proves making millions of bucks doesn't change someone from being dumb.
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It may appear to be a sold out crowd, but how many of these seats were actually bought and how many were donated-tax write off's. Often time's and this also being the case in Taboo, show's whether on or off broadway donate the worse or what's left to non profit organizations around the city. Usually claiming top price for each ticket. i.e. claim top tier as floor
It's not unusual for a show to sell out every night at the start and have a sharp decline within 2 or 3 weeks. Producers and managers will allocate availible seat even days before the show, knowing that they won't sell. Also there are other benefits for putting asses in the seats, it's all marketing.
Lex, I know that you are a great knowledgebase, so I'll ask you. Besides the talk show, what else has Rosie done that she can consider a success. (Lex, check out this weeks New York Mag.Jan.19-04 E harlem-off the topic)
People see the magazine failure and believe that exes bullied Rosies creative skills. Now with 2 major failures under her belt, maybe it's time Rosie starts to be a team player instead of a bully herself. It's seems that when she flexes her butch Biceps, people lose their jobs.
Self centered little prick, isn't she? Red Face
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"Russell Simons threw millions at Def Poetry on Broadway and it tanked too."

Did you miss this one.

Simmons once had an Idea to combine a Marlyn Manson and L.L.Cool J.. Yes, his nephew was going to be a satan worshiping rapper. Russell dumped a ton of money into promoting this. His own partner at the time Rick Rubin decided he would part at this point and head west.
Satan Worshiping Rapper. In a highly religious black community, pardon the pun, but it went over like a fart in church. Razz
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He probably did it just to get rid of Rubin. Marilyn probably got at least one pound of coke out of it. How about the "Baby Phat" line of clothes. Another business venture based on a pun. Let's see how far that goes.

If you saw the low budget teevee commercials for Taboo, on network channels, like at 2AM, you had further evidence of a show with low self-esteem. Another good(?) reason to paper the house.
Show Producer:
Rosie's major successes apart from the TV show were her film roles in Sleepless in Seattle, A League of Their Own and The Flintstones. But all those movies were at least 10 years ago. (was she in the more recent Flintstones sequel? Can't recall). She's appeared in several other lesser-known films since then.

A lot of stars have their share of failures. Public acceptance or box office success is something no one can ever predict or guarantee and often has little to do with the creative merit of the project itself. And so for that reason I've never counted it as an indication of a star's overall artistic worth. There are plenty of films or TV shows I love that bombed. And I wouldn't exactly call Taboo a failure. No, my dislike of Rosie has more to do with her just being a big STINKY ASSWIPE. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but in this case she deserved to lose that money as karma and cosmic payback. But as you suggest Show Producer, perhaps these setbacks will change the way she works.
She's just caught up in the trend A-list stars have been moving towards for some time now, 'branding.' The ultimate form of self-commodification. The idea is, if you start as a stand up comic, get a few C or B movie roles, snag a talk show host gig, start a magazine, then it means you can be a Broadway producer too, and next have your own cosmetics line, psychic phone site, amusement park (RosieLand?) etc. To pull all those business scams off you mostly have to have a management company and legal staff that are total pros. Being a comedy club alumni doesn't automatically give you the personal wherewithal to be a media entertainment mogul. Changing her ways will mean paying other, actually intelligent people, to make and direct her deals.
I want stories, Lex. What dish do you have to share with us that has led you to declare Rosie a total twat and cunt? I love hearing stories from the trenches. When did you meet her? What did she say to you? What did she do to you? TELL, TELL, TELL!

I'm curious, because I tend to agree with Miss Understood's post of 11/03, that Rosie is really just getting reamed for (albeit latently) openly being the dyke that she is. And a rich dyke, who millions of American women deeply loved, and then felt betrayed and scared and threatened by when they realized that they admired and respected and enjoyed a dyke every morning in their kitchens while they wiped up babypoop and sucked the Pastor/ChemLawn Man/UPS Guy's wee wee for years and years. Rampant hate and homophobia from the same volcano that's fueling the attack on our faerie friend Michael Jackson. Yeah, Ellen's a dyke, but she's really more a lesbian than a dyke, and this is now, and that was then, and Ellen wouldn't have that job right now if Rosie hadn't come out.

I'm finally seeing Taboo next week, and really looking forward to it, even if it's just to be able to join in these discussions. Actually, I want to see it for a lot of reasons. But I'll post again after the show.
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The funny thing is, most of America can't make heads or tails between a Dyke and a Lesbian. Honestly, I think most see them both as funny carpetmuncher's. When Rosie started her show, she appeared to be the All American Happy Fat Fish. Soon employees started to reveal her true side, and she followed up by proving them right. (i.e. Tom Selleck, KMart, giving the children back that she adopted- you know, that cunty shit)
Truth is, homophobia has nothing to do with her being disliked, or for any of her failures. That's just an excuse for her mismanagement and lack of being a team player.
When the "I'm afraid of the big Bull Dagger" excuse is being played for her failures, the credibility for all gay people is in Jeopardy.
Is this millionaire snob worth it? But, do enjoy the show. Don't be suprised if the person next to you coped a free ticket from the Cyclops Foundation.
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He's the guy that comes over in a big white truck and shoots chemicals into the earth under your lawn to kill the beetles and contaminate your drinking water. And to have your Mom kiss his crotch snake.

...homophobia has nothing to do with her being disliked, or for any of her failures.

Are you for real, Show Producer?
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Jackie, I am serious. There are a number of gay celeb's that are well taken by the public. Rosie is not one of them. She comes off as a cunt. Face it. And that's what people hate about her. Ellen has always and will always be loved, and yet no less a lesbian then Rosie. Is she? Is there one more a lezzie than another?
It's all the person, dude. She did it to herself.
Furthermore she lost alot of respect when she did come out. Why? Because her "I have such a crush on Tom Cruise" roll made most gay, straight and there in between feel lied to. She finally shined as the Phat Phoney she was always ment to be. If you don't feel the need to come out, that's your call and right. But don't play everone for a god damn fool. Silly Bull Dagger!
She comes off as a cunt. Face it. And that's what people hate about her.

Ask 100 people in my hometown what they think about Rosie O'Donnell, and I guarantee you the overwhelming response will more like "goddamn cunt-licker" than "goddamn cunt."

I'm not saying I think Rosie is nice. I don't know her, and I've heard from people who do that she can be a real nasty bitch. Back in the days when she had her talkshow I would hear from some who knew her that Rosie was a bitch, (and she was playing buy-the-baby back then, too), and I hear it now, so what's the difference? Now she's a rich and famous dyke, and then she was just rich and famous.

But please-- to say that Rosie's unpopularity is in no way due to her dykehood is as mistaken as saying that Michael Jackson's public persecution is in no way due to the fact that he's a fey little pansy and his boy lovechild is a boy lovechild. But I've said my piece, and I still can't wait to see Taboo, and I still want to hear some stories from Lex.
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Two things.
Is it not human nature to dislike a nasty bitch? Does it have to always have a lable to it, or a card to pull? If Rosie is arrogant, should people still support her for fear of being labled a "dyke hater?" Certain charactaristics are always rejected by society, and being an ass is one of them. But I suppose those people will always have defenders due to their own agendas. Speaking of agendas, my second question. Are you supporting the fact Michael Jackson has a fetish for young boy's? If in fact Jackson did do what is alleged, does the gay community want him as their reprsentitive. I wouldn't if I were gay. But then again, I never believed it was OK to molest children.
Furthermore, are you making a direct link between the "fey fags" and pediphiles? I for one am a straight man and my strongest opinion has always been that the biggest percentage of pediphiles are straight men themselves.
Since I am straight, does this mean that it would be cool for me to bang an underage girl?
Jackie, as a man with children, you frighten me. If you chose to look at the world realistically,you'd see that where fetishes like Jacksons begin, there are childhoods that end. Regardless of how many hit records he has or how many lama this idiot buys, his bleached dick doesn't deserve to take that.

I never heard Michael Jackson ever admitting he was gay. Maybe I'm out of the loop.
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"and Ellen wouldn't have that job right now if Rosie hadn't come out."

Sorry but Ellen plowed the way for Rosie to come out. And she didn't do it AFTER the fact that her show was going to end (like Rosie), in fact it totally ruined her career at that point. Like her or not she was much braver than Rosie ever was and helped open the door for "gay TV" to be even considered by a network.

Now , "gay TV"......That's a whole other topic
I disliked Rosie long before she left the closet. These days if anything I like her MORE, not less. But the mere fact that she is now "out" is not going to magically erase those earlier negative impressions. I have and will continue to give Rosie props for bringing Taboo to the world. Honestly I think it was a major achievement. I will not, however, give her accolades and think she's all that just for mustering the "courage" to out herself at a time when her show was already in decline and she'd already made her fortune. Big deal. Coming out could've been just for publicity anyway, and while I don't see anything wrong with that per se, I'm certainly not going to give her a goddamn prize for it.

I want stories, Lex. What dish do you have to share with us that has led you to declare Rosie a total twat and cunt? I love hearing stories from the trenches. When did you meet her? What did she say to you? What did she do to you? TELL, TELL, TELL!

Are you implying by these questions that someone must personally know a public figure in order to form an opinion, like or dislike about him or her? If so, then I disagree.

Public figures are just that: public. We "get to know them" by watching their behavior in the media, by reading their quotes in print, by observing their career and (in some cases) personal decisions. We process all that information and then interpret it based on our own values. For example, I've never met Ronald Reagan personally. He's never done anything wrong to me personally. He never stepped on my foot, beat up my mother, burned down my house, etc. Yet I still "dislike" the man intensely.

And that is why whatever Rosie may or may not have done to me personally is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. My dislike of her was formed from watching her on many talk shows (her own plus numerous others like Letterman, Leno etc), seeing interviews, hearing soundbites and reading about her, and personal gossip from a few who worked with her. If I thought she was a great comedienne or a major talent then I could've overlooked all that, but I didn't. (Lord knows I've overlooked bitchiness in Diana Ross, Maria Callas and many, many other stars). All of this was LONG BEFORE she came out. But there was no reason before Taboo to talk about her on the Boards, so how would anyone know my opinion of her? So the suggestion that I bash her now because she's a big ole dyke is just wrong, sorry hon.
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The whole time I sat through "The Last Samurai" watching Tom Cruise I was thinking, "Now I get her (Rosie)!" You see, Rosie really always wanted to be Tom Cruise, getting the girls, blowing up people, slicing the bad guys up with swords, saving the children and having gorgeous hair through it all. She doesn't get to do any of that (esp. the hair). That said, I give her props for putting all that dough behind Taboo...however it turns out.
the only women mentioned in the bible are prostitutes, burnt offerings or suffering mothers. please name a good woman someone somewhere? LOL

so the terms used even here on mother, towards rosie are what christians are saying about lesbians anyway. since no one has a kind word for women in general and specifically for women in business, what can we do? how can we break this thing the media and men have against women?

rosie who was lied to in business by the very corporate men that tried to defame her in court for breaking it because of their lying to rosie. so men beating up on women? men taking down strong women cause they are threatened purhaps? lol

what's new about abuse of women?


the merlinator

yes tom cruise is the perfect rosie.........
Taboo is 2 1/2 hours of bright, bright SUNSHINE! Yes, Virginia, there ARE angels in America! Miracle on 45th Street! Rejoice!

I'm seeing it again this weekend. If you have yet to see it, do whatever you can to get a ticket this week before it closes on Sunday. "The sweet boys, they crumble..."

I don't care how big of a whatever Rosie O'Donnell is-- anyone who puts up $10 million to make sure a work of art like this gets produced is doing all right in the eyes of Jackie Bigalow.

And that EUAN MORTON-- don't even get me started!
EUAN MORTON for best actor in a musical EVER!
EUAN MORTON for President!
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Boy George agrees to pay libel damages

Boy George has agreed to pay £10,000 libel damages to a man he punched in a nightclub over allegations that his victim was to blame for the incident.

A judge in the High Court heard that on June 20, 2002, Andrew Thompson was working at the Sweet Suite nightclub in London's Soho as membership secretary when he was punched by Boy George, whose real name is George O'Dowd.

Mr Thompson's solicitor, Hanna Basha, told Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting in London, that the defendant, Mr O'Dowd, had "accepted that he should not have assaulted the claimant (Mr Thompson) and paid him substantial compensation for the injury and distress caused".

In November 2002 an interview was published with the singer in Boyz, a gay magazine which is distributed mainly in London, she said.

"In the course of the interview, the defendant alleged that the claimant, while working at the nightclub on 20 June had insulted and provoked the defendant in such a way that the claimant had deserved to be punched hard and in effect the claimant was to blame for the incident."

Ms Basha added: "Understandably the claimant was surprised and shocked by the account that the defendant had given in Boyz magazine."

Mr Thompson had sought an apology and withdrawal of the allegations, she said. Mr O'Dowd refused "and as a result the claimant had no alternative but to issue the proceedings against the defendant in order to clear his name".

Ms Basha continued: "The defendant has acknowledged that he should not have assaulted the claimant and he was wrong to have said that the claimant deserved to be hit.

"To mark this, he has agreed to join in this statement and publicly withdraw the allegations and apologise for the distress that they have caused to the claimant.

"In addition he has agreed to pay substantial damages of £10,000 to the claimant and the claimant's legal costs in this matter."

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