Adam Sandler did it to promote his 1999 bigscreen laffer “Big Daddy.” Now, to advertise her upcoming tuner “Taboo,” Rosie O’Donnell is also opening the floodgates of questionable taste in using the image of a man relieving himself. Over the weekend, the strikingly outre image graced the inside covers of two gay giveaway magazines, HX and Next, as well as a Times Square billboard at 46th Street and Broadway. June 29 was Gay Pride Day in Gotham, and the musical, which recently closed in London after a long run, is based on the early club days there of Boy George and performance artist Leigh Bowery. It opens on Broadway in November.
Boy George, aka George O’Dowd, plays Bowery in the show.
The “Taboo” poster also features a portrait of the late Bowery, his ample bosom bared, his heavily made-up face dripping what appears to be blueberry syrup.
“It was our big Pride push. We decided to push the envelope,” said Dan MacDonald, O’Donnell’s partner in her One Canvas Prods.
But will the ad campaign play with tourists from Peoria? Or for that matter, the censors at the New York Times?
“We’re not there yet. We don’t go into the Times until September,” said MacDonald.
At least four other poster images are also in the works.
Two seasons ago, “The Full Monty” underperformed at the box office, and some legit observers put the blame on its one-sheet image of naked male legs. Late in the show’s run, the marketing campaign featured a series of ads in which cartoon characters assured men (i.e., straight ones) that it was OK to see “The Full Monty.”
MacDonald said that he and O’Donnell didn’t see a similar problem with the far more risque “Taboo” ad.
“We’re going after theatergoers, your pop culture fans, GLBT,” he said. Translation: gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.