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taboo casting press release


Rosie O’Donnell and Adam Kenwright are proud to announce principle and ensemble casting for the upcoming Broadway premiere of the new musical TABOO. 

Joining previously announced stars Euan Morton as the young Boy George, and George O’Dowd (a.k.a. Boy George) as performance-artist Leigh Bowery, Raúl Esparza will play night-club impresario Philip Sallon, Liz McCartney will play Leigh Bowery’s closest friend, Big Sue, Cary Shields will play Marcus, a young photographer, and Sarah Uriarte Berry takes on the role of Leigh Bowery’s young muse, Nicola.

The ensemble of TABOO includes Jennifer Cody, Dioni Michelle Collins, Brooke Elliott, Lisa Gajda, Bob Gaynor, Curtis Holbrook, Lori Holmes, Jennifer Mrozik, Nathan Peck, Alexander Quiroga, Asa Somers, Denise Summerford, Jody Reynard, James Tabeek, and Gregory Treco. 

TABOO has a book by Charles Busch (adapted from the original book by Mark Davies), and original music and lyrics by George O’Dowd. TABOO, original concept by George O’Dowd and Christopher Renshaw, is directed by Christopher Renshaw and choreographed by Mark Dendy. TABOO has musical supervision by John McDaniel and orchestrations by Steve Margoshes, and Kevan Frost is the co-composer. 

TABOO, produced by Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Kenwright in association with Daniel MacDonald, Lori E. Seid and Michael Fuchs, begins performances on Broadway at The Plymouth Theatre (236 West 45 Street) on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 and opens on Thursday, November 13, 2003.

TABOO is a musical portrait of a brief but remarkable era - London in the early 1980’s. An ever-shifting time that sparked a rebellion among the youth that found its expression in flamboyant fashion and decadent nightlife. These kids were "the New Romantics" – leaders of an unofficial movement that left a lasting influence on music and fashion. TABOO focuses on two young men - Leigh Bowery, a brilliant, anarchic performance artist/designer and George O’Dowd, a young, rough-edged boy who arrives in London and – once swept up into the exciting artistic climate -becomes the surprising crossover star of the scene as Boy George. Both men’s stories are played out against the fantastic background of Taboo, the club that had come to symbolize the mad excess and decadent fun of 1980’s London.

TABOO has scenic design by Tim Goodchild, costume design by Mike Nicholls and Bobby Pearce, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Jonathan Deans, and make-up and hair design by Christine Bateman.

Tickets for TABOO, which range from $ 80 - $ 100, go on sale September 3, 2003 and may then be purchased by calling at (212) 239-6200.  The Plymouth Theatre Box Office (236 West 45 Street) opens on September 21, 2003.


RAÚL ESPARZA (‘Philip Sallon’) most recently appeared in Trevor Griffiths’ Comedians at Playwrights Horizons, after playing the role of the Emcee in the Roundabout’s production of Cabaret at Studio 54.  Raúl also starred as Georges in Sunday in the Park with George and Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along as part of the summer-long 2002 Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration. He created the roles of Jonathan in Jonathan Larson's Outer Critics Circle Award-winning tick, tick...BOOM! (Obie Award for Distinguished Performance, Drama League Honoree, Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Actor) and Riff Raff in the Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show (Theatre World Award). He played Che in the 20th Anniversary national tour of Evita (Best Actor Joseph Jefferson nomination, Chicago). Recent credits include The Good Person of New Haven with Cornerstone Theatre at the Long Wharf, and What the Butler Saw (Detroit Free Press Award) and the role of Septimus in Arcadia, both at the Meadowbrook Theatre. In Chicago, Raúl created roles in Slaughterhouse-5 and Fur, both with Steppenwolf; The Washington-Sarajevo Talks at the Victory Gardens; and Cry, the Beloved Country (directed by Frank Galati) at the Goodman Theatre. He has performed with the Remains Theatre, National Jewish Theatre and Drury Lane Oakbrook (Chicago); The Hangar Theatre (New York); and he made his professional debut in Mixed Blessings at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami.
LIZ McCARTNEY (‘Big Sue’) Broadway: Dance of the Vampires, Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera (also tour / San Francisco), Encores! Carnival, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables (Broadway / touring).  Tour: Magenta/Trixie in The Rocky Horror Show with Meat Loaf.  Regional: the Witch in Into The Woods (Ordway / Sacramento Music Theatre), May DeVere in Fifty Million Frenchmen (Pittsburgh Public), Elizabeth Woodling in Paint Your Wagon (Goodspeed), Maud Gonne in A Vision (Playwrights Horizons / A.C.T. / Original cast recording).  TV includes: “Route 66,” “The Prosecutors,”  “Law and Order: SVU.” 
EUAN MORTON (‘Boy George’) earned an Olivier Award nomination for originating the role of Boy George in the West End production of Taboo. His recent theatre work includes the part of Mercury in We Will Rock You (the Paul McIntyre Workshop/Queen), the critically acclaimed The Silent Treatment at the Finborough Theatre, Terry in The Matchstalk Man at the Tristan Bates Theatre, Kevin in The Sexual Life of the Camel at the Man in the Moon Theatre, Antoine in An Empty Table at the Café de Garnd Boeuf at the New End Theatre and Approaching Zanzibar at the Southwark Playhouse, directed by Brennan Street. His television credits include The Bill, Taggart, Sword of Honour, The Knock, Going Out and London’s Burning. Euan also appeared in the films Captain Jack and Wednesday’s Child.

GEORGE O’DOWD (‘Leigh Bowery’ / Music and Lyrics). Boy George was born George O’Dowd in Eltham, Kent in 1961. During the early 80’s he became a regular in London on the ‘New Romantic’ club scene. His flamboyant cross-dressing style and his appearances at clubs such as Billy’s, Blitz and Heaven and Hell were regularly featured in the pages of magazines such as Blitz and The Face. From 1979, he worked as a DJ alongside Jeremy Healy until he joined forces with disc jockey Michael Craig and former Adam and The Ants drummer John Moss in 1982 to form the 80’s supergroup Culture Club. Over the next four years, the group wrote and played some impeccable pop music including tracks such as ‘Karma Chameleon’ and ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’. The group dissolved in 1986 and George re-emerged as a solo singer in 1987 with ‘Everything I Own,’ a cover version of the Bread/Ken Boothe hit which gave him his first solo number 1. In 1989 he formed his own record label, More Protein, and fronted a new band called Jesus Loves You, which demonstrated his increasing involvement in the UK club scene and a move away from his pop stardom of the 80’s. His autobiography, Take It Like a Man, recalling his extraordinary life, was published in 1995. Today, Boy George is recognized foremost as a leading dance music DJ, playing regularly at major clubs and dance festivals in the UK and Ibiza while also producing, in collaboration with Pete Tong, several mix compilations for the Ministry of Sound label.

CARY SHIELDS (‘Marcus’) made his Broadway debut in Rent, having toured with the U.S. national and Canadian companies. Cary is currently writing a musical, Lucky, with partner Mark Jackson and has also recorded with his band Poncho. Credits include Whizzer in Falsettos, Fox's "Dark Angel" and WB's "Guide to Becoming a Rock Star."
(‘Nicola’) created the role of Julie Jordan for Royal National Theater Carousel tour; Nicholas Hytner, director (Ovation nomination-Best Actress). Starred as Belle, Beauty and the Beast-Broadway company. Previously appeared in Les Miserables-Broadway and touring companies.

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