Rosie O'Donnell bids tearful farewell to 'Taboo'

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

— Minutes after the final curtain fell on "Taboo," the $10 million Broadway musical that folded after three months of mediocre ticket sales, producer Rosie O'Donnell stood outside the Plymouth Theatre wiping tears from her eyes.

"Thank you, Rosie!" fans shouted, holding "Taboo" playbills and posters for her to sign.

"You're welcome," the fledgling theater producer said softly. She held a digital camera up to her face and snapped a few photos in front of the marquee before walking with domestic partner Kelli Carpenter to a private party down the street.

Despite her tears, O'Donnell was resolutely positive in a speech before Sunday's sold-out performance, theatergoers said. She thanked the audience for its support, urged people to register to vote in time for November's election and -- to wild applause -- vowed that the show would return someday, according to audience member Leviathen Hendricks, 34, a New York actor.

"Taboo," funded entirely by O'Donnell, told the story of gender-bending pop singer Boy George. It played 16 previews and 100 performances before closing, losing its entire investment.

Despite the bad reviews, the show developed a cult of fans who turned out Sunday in full force, some sporting glittery "Taboo"-inspired costumes.

Boy George, who played performance artist Leigh Bowery in the show and wrote its mostly original score, made a brief speech after curtain call. He thanked O'Donnell and the show's cast and crew for "an amazing job."