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O'Donnell kicks off sales of Boy George musical

September 04, 2003|Michael Kuchwara | Associated Press

NEW YORK — When it comes to "Taboo," Rosie O'Donnell has put her money where her mouth is.

The former talk-show diva is the producer and sole investor in the $10-million Boy George musical, opening on Broadway Nov. 13.

"I always think: Go big or go home," O'Donnell said Wednesday during a news conference at a Times Square Internet cafe to kick off Web site ticket sales for the production, which begins preview performances Oct. 24 at the Plymouth Theatre.

"Taboo," O'Donnell said, is "a legitimate, knock-'em-down, leave-'em-screaming, worth-a-$100-a-seat Broadway show." She confidently predicted it would win the Tony Award for best musical next June.

In terms of sartorial hyperbole, though, the 41-year-old O'Donnell -- dressed simply in denim and a "Taboo" T-shirt -- was out-glammed by the man who stars in the show and wrote its music and lyrics.

George, while clothed mostly in basic black, let his makeup speak for itself. It included one ear painted blue, his left eye surrounded by silver glitter, an abundance of red lipstick and eyelashes that Tammy Faye Bakker would envy. To top it off, streaks of black makeup cascaded from the top of the 42-year-old's shaved head.

"Taboo," which had a 15-month run in England, focuses on two members of the early '80s London club scene: performance artist and designer Leigh Bowery and a young singer-songwriter named George O'Dowd, who became Boy George.

O'Donnell saw the show in London and said she thought, " 'If I can make this happen [on Broadway], it would be unreal.' 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."

As a result, O'Donnell hired Charles Busch, author of "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife," to rewrite the book for Broadway. Euan Morton will play George, the role he originated in London, and George will portray Bowery.

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