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TABOO Press Conference Transcript

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TABOO Press Conference Transcript#0
Posted: 9/4/03 at 12:37am
Here is a rough transcript of the Online Taboo Press Conference held today. It's mainly fan questions, with Rosie and Boy George answering... enjoy. (It's long... sorry)

How Rosie and Boy George were paired up?
She saw him in London (doing the show), approached him to bring it to B'Way, he said no way, she cut her hair like his old drummer and he was convinced. They hired a new writer (Charles Busch) to work on the book and the rest is history.

Will there be lots of audience participation in the show?
Boy George hopes that people will dress up like the characters in the show. Rosie said it's not an interactive show per se. She said it's a procenium stage, not like Cabaret - more like Hairspray.

How long does Boy George's make-up take to apply? And is there a team that swarms around him (to get into costume/make up)
Done by make-up artist Christine Bateman, it takes an hour. No, no team.

Who is Leigh Bowery (Boy George's character)?
L.B. was an Australian fashion designer/musican/exibitionist/performance artist who was an artist in every sense of the word. He didn't make a lot of money, he only really cared about his costumes. When asked what he would do if anyone copied his look, he said he would befriend them and ware them down slowly until they thought they were nothing! Occasionally, he made clothes for Boy George in the 80's. He was a great idea person.

Looking ahead to the future, and this may be putting the cart before the horse, but is there a chance that Taboo would leave the stage and become something we would see on the screen.
Boy George: That'd be great.
Rosie: Without a doubt.

Is Taboo to your recollection one of the first shows that really focuses on the 80's?
Boy George: Well, I don't know... although it's based in that period, if you said it's just about that time period, you're not getting what it's really about because it's really about relationships, it about people being disenfranchised, it's about families, it's a universal theme probably since the cavemen, and probably will continue.
If you just say the 80's, people might think it's about the hair and the clothes and credit cards and yuppies... it has a lot more heart than that. Even though there IS big hair in it.
Rosie: Make no mistake...

Some of the songs sound as though they may have come off the radio today. As the composer, who are some of your influences?
Boy George: My musical tastes are so varied and complicated. Marilyn Manson, Patsy Cline, Jazz, Pearl Bailey, Sarah Vaughn, David Bowie, Vaudville stuff... I'm a bit of a cultural sponge when it comes to music. I look for things that have heart.
I don't like manufactured pop music, but I like Prince... but growing up in England, there were many American influences, like the Stylistics, Gladyes Knight.
I often referenced American Bands to my friends, and they'd never heard of them... Sonny and Cher, Proud Mary (Tina Turner). I love Cher: Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves! That was one of the first records I ever bought.
(Rosie and Boy George sing Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves)

Rosie, do you see yourself in this show (as an actor) at any point in time? Is it hard to seperate the actress/host from the producer shoes you've put on?
Rosie: Well, I don't know about actress, but I am a total theatre geek and the concept of me to originate the role of Big Sue might seem obvious. It was almost too much for me to resist. But I am fully aware as a producer that I lack the talent and skill that is needed. I feel I was let into the all you can eat buffet some time around 10 years ago, and right now, there are people waiting to get in, so those are the people who should be on that stage. Liz McCartney - - this is going to make her a star and she deserves it. She's genius, so I can't image ever following her. But I would be thrilled in a dream world to do it.

How true to life is Taboo?
Boy George: Well, it's not a documentary. Essentially, when you're putting on a show, you want to pay people homage, but if you go into the nitty gritty facts, it's not that interesting. But the essense of it is true, it's not make believe, but it's not exact either. There's a scene between myself and Marilyn which happened, but generally, the actors are trying to invoke the spirit of those people. The characters are universal while specific at the same time. People will relate to them. It's pinpointing characters.... it's a colorful postcard of that era, those moments. There was freedom to break rules then and the sad thing about today's culture is that... we have these wonderful devices to help us to communicate, but a lot of the times, they just help us to avoid communication. But I think to look back then, it was a breath of fresh air.

I saw you on MTV Cribs and you were eating so well. What have you been doing to get up to Leigh Bowrey size?
B.G.:I'm not L.B. size.
Rosie: But I am.

Will Boy George be performing in all the Taboo shows and is there an understudy for him?
Rosie: We have a wonderfully talented guy, but Boy George will be performing 8 shows a week for the length of his contract. So get your tickets now! We did this today so people who are on the web really care because they want to know, and they're dedicated fans, so that's why we're making tickets available to them first.

What is the hardest part about being onstage in the theatre vs. being onstage with a band?
Boy George: I've been singing for over 20 years, so it's kind of second nature... you know, as a performer, you devise things for yourself to overcome changes from what you're used to. As an actor, you're more vulnurable, because you're lost in what you're doing onstage. I would say that my acting has actually improved my singing.
When I perform as a singer, I don't talk much. And the last few concerts, I've been talking a lot more. It's effected that where I'm all chatty to the point where people are like "shut up!"

What were your initial thoughts, whether it was dress rehearsal or just backstage... the first time you saw someone dress and look exactly like you from that era?
Boy George: Um... you know, I feel proud when I watch Ewan. I feel he's done me a great service. But because I was so involved in the show, and I helped create it, I just got mum. When we first opened, I wasn't in the show and I'd be there every night. I'd just watch it. Everyone made me proud... the whole thing was great, but obviously, Ewan is spectacular, which is why he's here on Broadway.

As the producer, how has the West End version changed? Are there parts of the show that you saw that are exactly as they were then, or does this show have to be "Americanized"?
Rosie: Well, it didn't have to be Americanized, but I felt it did need a new play, and that's no disrespect to the original playwright, who I think did a brilliant job, so good that I saw it 57 times. Every time, it got a standing ovation. But on Broadway, I would be comfortable with somebody with the weight of Charles Busch to be able to take the real story, which to me, was fascinating, that this flamboyant homosexual gay man was in fact married to a woman. And how did that come to be? So the real story enticed me, so I asked Charles to focus on the six characters instead of maybe 10 and in that way it's different, but it originated in London in a 300 seat venue, and I'm just the lucky person who gets to bring it here.

Do you think the show will ever tour?
I am fully confident that there will be at least one, probably two. I look at Cameron MacIntosh as a producer... he's my goal. I'd like to have Taboo London, Taboo, California, Taboo Japan, Taboo Yuganda!

George, how do you think the media will act or react to Taboo?
B.G.: Since the beginning of my career, I've been reading things about myself which are often inaccurate... you can't worry about that kind of stuff. When I was young, I used to think that the press works with artists, but that's not the case now is it? (Rosie laughs). And in some cases, that's right. But the minute something goes wrong, they're attacking you.
Rosie: I think this show is critic proof, and I'm not dismissing them... but regardless of the reviews, I guarantee this show will be a huge hit.
B.G.: There was was funny review, because back in the day, I was a nonsexual. And there is this review of me and I've got this corset on, and I've got breasts, and I'm coming out of the toliet, having had sex with somebody, and it said Boy George is no longer the nonthreatening sexual character he was in the 80's, and I though 'what happened?' They're fickle... You cannot do things based on what critics might say.
It's easy to criticize. It's hard to make art.

Do you think Taboo would be a good play to take my 8 year old son to?
Rosie: Well, I have an 8 year old son, and we listen to the soundtrack and he's been to rehearsal. If you ask me, yes. In the same way you can take your child to "Rent" or "Hairspray". They're gonna ask questions, but the message of Taboo is totally appropriate for an 8 year old. Now, don't take that out of context, because that's not our target audience... you know your child better than I do. My kids saw Cabaret...and Rent... If you would take your kids to Rent, you can take your kids to this.

Rosie - - You showing such in interest in such alternative subject matter is something people are not used to from you. Would you say your television persona prevented you from this before, or would you say that your break from TV has allowed you the opportunity to explore these avenues?
Rosie: Well, i don't know if you remember, but I did... we had Hedwig on my show. We were the first people to have these people on, and John Cameron Mitchell went on to sing the Origin of Love in full drag at 10am on TV. Broadway has always been a love of mine, and I tried to book Boy George on my show from the beginning, so to me, this if fully in line with what I've always been interested in.
I think America got so into THEIR perception of me, rather than who I really am, and there may have been expectations that weren't met on my end. But the show was great and I'm so proud of it (The Rosie Show) we won every award there was to win, and all I have to say to everyone who enjoyed it is, it was real, it was true, but now it's over, and like every artists, I grow, and this is my new canvas.
B.G.: I guess it depends on what you consider alternative. I think I've always tried to teach a message of tolerance. I feel what I've learned is that the people who are most disenfranchised are the ones who are the most prejudiced, who often don't learn from themselves. For me, it's not about being gay or straight, it's about everyone having their own story. Everyone has suffered.
There's a great saying, freedom is done by what is done by you. So that's not about being alternative, it's about embracing and saying, don't be scared, it's only a wig or makeup or something like that.

It is great to see John McDaniel's name involved with Taboo. How is he involved?
Rosie: He is the musical coordinator and arranger. I wouldn't do a show without him, I hope I do every Broadway show with him. He's unbearably gifted. He's sweet and kind, and he's a man whom I've enjoyed spending every morning for 6 years of my life with. And he loves this project, and I'm happy he's here.

Are there any moments onstage that you find difficult to watch, to relive?
B.G.: No...not really. The first couple of times, yes, there were things that now were wierd, but now, being in the show now (as I wasn't at first), I'm busy, so I don't have to see them.
Rosie: If it were me, I would find it difficult because he has been unbearably honest, and America and the world knows that he had a past drug addiction that almost took his life, and he now, where he is and who he is - - that's a part of his history, but the way he tells the story and the way he's written the songs - - the truthfulness... I think it'd be hard for me to just watch. But it's such a gift to the audience. And in one of my first e-mails to Boy George was, at the end, I want you to be presented as the winner that you are, because not only did you survive, but you made a beautiful piece of art out of it.

Will the Plymouth theatre be configured like the theatre in london (where TABOO premiered)?
Rosie: Sorry, no, we tried that. I never realized how difficult it was to rent a Broadway theatre, even if you had the money to rent one. It's a process, like a triple back flip, but we got the Plymouth. There are rules as to what you can and can't do... The stage is a proscenium... the stage will be treated to the best costumes and set design possible. But no, it's not as intimate as in London.

Are there any aspects of the show that you are not involved in, as the producer? Or does everything from the cover of the playbill, to the photos, to the performance pieces in the actual show...
Rosie: You know, I have a bad reputation already as a producer, but I would like to say in my own defense: there are many aspects that I am involved in, only because I care deeply. I took 15 months off, and I remember why I wanted to be a performer and the thing that got me through these months was this show, and this man and his art. So the fact is, I'm involved in every aspect, except for the music. All I know is, he does the music - it's unbelievable... any way he wants to arrange it is fine with me. I'm tone deaf. I just know I was fully involved in the execution of everything else, because I have O.C.D. and I can't help it, but I'm doing it with love.

What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of writing a musical for the stage?
Boy George: I mean, the whole thing has been fantastic. There isn't anything negative. I find, that as a person, the drama, the rouse... the disagreements are fun, because that's the stuff you talk about later. The show is up and running, and you're doing your job, but all the preperation is what I love. I remember Elton John, he was doing a video and he was there for 4 hours. I'm there from start to finish and my nose in everything! Why would I want to do something if I wasn't immersed in it? I'm not a watcher.

Are there songs written for TABOO that will not be in the final version?
Boy George: Songs are gone because characters are now gone... so that's a given, but the bulk is the same. There are some that are added that we've written for this version, but none are just gone. It's the same score.

Rosie, on Opening Night, will you be nervous, will you be excited? What will you feel?
Rosie: I know I'll cry because every opening night I've ever been to (and it's VERY hard to get a ticket to opening night on Broadway) I cry. Because I know the amount of work it took to get any show onto a Broadway stage. I almost cried on the first day of rehearsal. I almost cried when I knew Boy George's plane had landed when he first got here in the states, but I'll cry, and I'll be thrilled and excited and also... It's gonna sound humble, but it's the truth: I really feel that I'm the luckest person, because I'm gonna get credited for this, and all I really did was say "OK, you guys get together and play and when you're done, here's where you're gonna get to do it, and that's it."

Imagine it's opening night, we have the Playbill in hand... we might be a first time theatre goer or we may be part of the press who has heard about the buzz. What is the synopsis of the story... ?
Boy George: I think it's about really the realities that everybody wants to belong and be loved, no matter how they go about it. Some people kick and screat to get love, some people conform to get love... but everyone wants the same thing... to be included in the party. It's about people who felt they didn't really fit in and they were made to feel that way by other people, who probably didn't feel good about themselves either, and it's about the triumph of that - - about realizing everyone's got a story. Some people turn out on other people, some people turn it on themselves and the trick long term is to stop judging people on what they wear, or the perceived notion of what it is to be gay or female or fat or black or whatever. It's about overcoming those stereotypes, which is a longshot, but anything you can do to combat that is great these days.

Will be there a new TABOO recording with the New York cast or will the CD from London be released again?
Boy George: There is going to be a Broadway cast recording.
Rosie: Very soon.
Boy George: We also have some very fine voices in this. So it would be criminal not to record them.
Rosie: And there's a demo of 5 songs that will be available during previews that B.G. mixed in London and as soon as we can record the cast album, we will.

Any last thought for our global audience?
Rosie: Thanks for logging on. Tickets are now available on the website first and there's a reason for that. When I had my show, for the first 3 years, every night I'd go on and chat to the fans and ask what they thought of the show... Hello!! Ego!!! But the fact is, it's a new day, it's a new Broadway and I'm thrilled that we're able to present it to you online first. So, come see it, I guarantee you it will be the night of your life.

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Featured Actor
re: TABOO Press Conference Transcript#1
Posted: 9/4/03 at 2:48am
Did you do this for fun? (Not being shady, just curious. It is a lot of typing!)
Featured Actor
Featured Actor
re: TABOO Press Conference Transcript#2
Posted: 9/4/03 at 4:58am
Thanks re: TABOO Press Conference Transcript
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re: re: TABOO Press Conference Transcript#3
Posted: 9/4/03 at 11:12am
I didn't type it... someone sent it to me and said it wasn't word for word but quite close.
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Featured Actor
Yes, thank you.