NY Mirror

To avoid getting totally screwed, I left Fame on 42nd Street midway, after lines like "Don't you know drugs are bad? And I don't mean good bad, I mean bad bad." (The show should know; it's bad bad.) A better idea: Let's get all of this theater season's casualties—Jenna Elfman, Jasmine Guy, Farrah Fawcett—together in a big, one-night-only show called What's My Line?

In lieu of that, the Taboo opening night was so major that a pop star jumped out of his limo near the theater and bowed as the gathering throng cheered. Alas, it wasn't Boy George, it was 50 Cent (who didn't pinch me). But though Taboo itself occasionally teeters on bad bad, I increasingly gave in to its Rocky Horror meets American Idol via Lifetime TV movie ass. Yes, the "Give me a freak" opening number is too Annie meets Oliver! and the explanations of nightlife ("Clubs need cool people . . . ") are as icky as the narrations ("Get out of my story! Now back to George"). Plus the two main plotlines barely intersect; Peter Allen—I mean George—keeping his gayness cloaked, as Peter Allen—I mean Leigh Bowery—develops AIDS. While the performance artist dies, his wife (no, not Liza) belts a Cristy Lane-type anthem that seriously goes, "Silence equals death, that is what they say."

But when George (as Bowery) croons a vaudeville-style hymn to sex in bathrooms, it's pure dirty fun, and so is the guy playing George (the haunting Euan Morton) singing "Karma Chameleon" as the real George snarls, "What a dreadful song!" The whole mess is such a gay celebration of freaks, it's a versatile top, and once Peter Allen—I mean George and Bowery—drive away the people who love them, I submitted to the tidy wrap-ups and lessons learned, club culture colliding with Broadway to make a fascinating hybrid meant only for me.

Bottoms up: Jai Rodriguez and Ted Allen cavorting at the "Out 100" party
photo: Cary Conover
Bottoms up: Jai Rodriguez and Ted Allen cavorting at the "Out 100" party

Afterward, the real Philip Sallon told me, "Act II is better than Act I because you care about the people." Well, is the ex-club impresario really like his stage characterization? "Oh, really!" he huffed. "My whole life's a show? Please—I'm normal!" He was wearing head-to-toe plastic trash bags. I adore my life.


musto@villagevoice.com

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