Rosie O'Donnell gave her opinion of theater critics by thrusting her middle fingers in the air while delivering impromptu remarks at Thursday night's performance of Taboo, the widely panned musical she is producing. The musical, about the rise and fall of 1980s pop star Boy George, which cost O'Donnell $10 million to bring to Broadway, has been politely received by some reviewers but skewered by others, raising serious doubts about its future. O'Donnell mingled with the Plymouth Theater crowd during intermission, autographing programs.
As she made her way to her third-row seat, some audience members called out to her, and the commotion built into a round of applause. "Thank you, thank you," she said. "And if there are any critics out there..." she said as she flipped the double-bird to answer those who called the show a turkey.
The New York Times last week described the show as "a crazy, mixed-up mess." The Daily News said it was "more tedious than awful," and The Washington Post termed it "stultifying." "This show gets standing ovations every night," O'Donnell said. "That's the real reaction." The show features new songs from George O'Dowd, who rose to fame as Boy George from the wildly flamboyant London club scene depicted in the musical. O'Dowd himself plays fashion pioneer and conceptual artist Leigh Bowery in the Broadway production. Despite spotty early box office returns, O'Donnell has vowed to keep the show open at least until the end of the year in hopes of generating positive word of mouth. The show costs $500,000 a week to mount and grossed $320,000 during the week it officially opened.
O'Donnell dodged financial disaster this month when a judge said he would not award serious damages in a highly publicized $100 million lawsuit brought against her by publishers of the now-defunct Rosie magazine.