Top: A scene from the Broadway show 'Taboo'. In the center, show creator Boy George. Below left: Raul Esparza as Phillip Sallon. Below right: Euan Morton as Boy George.
A little more than 10 years ago, a new musical was coming together that told the story of the young life of an 1980s superstar, as told by the talented man himself. 'Taboo' told the story of a group of club kids in the early 1980s, from the standpoint of someone who was there. George O'Dowd, know to many as Boy George, the creative genius behind Culture Club, put the show together, writing the music and lyrics, as well as supplying the basics of the story. Boy George rose to popularity on the crest of the New Romantic movement, and for delivering incredibly well-crafted songs. And after hearing the score to the show, I would have to say I think the man still has the talent to deliver the goods. An example of this would be a song sung by Euan Morton, with Liz McCartney, Raul Esparza & the Original Broadway Cast Ensemble. "Stranger In This World" is a beautiful number, sung by the actor playing Boy George. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Well, I couldn't very well talk about the show and not share a song by the genius himself. First up is the song "Everything Taboo", which opens the second act. Club promoter Leigh Bowery is the character who delivers the song, played by Boy George. The song talks about the club scene, and adds a bit of flavor to the proceedings. After that, Euan Morton sings a medley of two of Boy George's hits from Culture Club, "Church of the Poison Mind" and "Karma Chameleon". Morton does an exceptional job treading the line between reminding us of Boy George and stamping his own performance on the song.
Finally, I come to my favorite song from the show. It also just so happens to be performed by one of my favorite actors in the show, Raul Esparza. One of the reasons I love him so much, aside from the dashing good looks, is his ability to have a huge range of characters played, and he does the job without fail. His Phillip Sallon has such a great depth and breath, I feel as though I knew him myself. The song is "Petrified", sung following his character being gay bashed and robbed in London. There is a glorious center to the song, and Esparza never fails to give it life. This is "Petrified",as sung by the amazing Raul Esparza.
Raul also manages to make his voice has so many different sounds, as the tone in his Phillip Sallon sounds very different than his Bobby from 'Company', or from his Riff Raff from 'Rocky Horror Show'. But what it really comes down to is the music, and there are most certainly plenty of riches on that front. This is a song I often listen to before going to sleep at night. And it never gets old. You can purchase the Original Broadway Cast recording of 'Taboo' from both iTunes, where it is available as a digital download, and Amazon, where you can purchase a physical CD.