Rosie breaks in with tuner ‘Taboo’

Possible B'way premiere as early as spring 2003

One career down, another ready to begin. Rosie O’Donnell will rise from the ashes of her soon-to-be-defunct namesake magazine Rosie to become a Broadway producer. Although she appeared onstage in “Grease” and “Seussical,” O’Donnell looks to make her behind-the-scenes legit debut as a producer of Boy George’s new tuner “Taboo.” Cindy Berger, O’Donnell’s publicist at PMK/HBH, told Daily Variety that the actress-turned-TV show host-turned magazine editor was already scouting Broadway theaters for “Taboo,” with a possible Broadway premiere “as early as spring 2003.”

Berger said O’Donnell would partner with the show’s London producers, Adam Kenwright and Michael Fuchs. Latter pair could not be reached for comment.

Converted church

To stage the original production of “Taboo,” Kenwright converted a church basement off Leicester Square into a new 300-seat theater, called the Venue. Show, with score by Boy George and book by Mark Davies, opened this January to generally upbeat reviews. Mixing fact and fiction, “Taboo” revisits the London club world of the 1980s to portray such real-life denizens of the scene as Steve Strange and Leigh Bowery as well as Boy George.

In his Variety review, Matt Wolf called “Taboo” a “clunkily moralistic, sometimes endearing, often loopy new musical.” He went on to observe that the score by Boy George contained “at least a half-dozen original numbers that look set to last,” among them such titles as “Ode to Attention Seekers” and “Genocide Peroxide.”

Playing a part

Too old to play himself 20 years earlier, Boy George (a.k.a. George Alan O’Dowd) has periodically joined the London cast to perform the role of Leigh Bowery, the flamboyant performance artist who opened the club Taboo. A spokesman for the London show said Boy George would return to the cast there in November and he was in talks to star in the New York production.

At the show’s world preem, Matt Lucas played Bowery, with Euan Morton performing as the young Boy George.

Christopher Renshaw directed.

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