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Elton John & Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears Team Up for Musical Tammy Faye

Elton John & Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears Team Up for Musical Tammy Faye

Elton John and Jake Shears

The two have written the music and lyrics for a new musical based on Tammy Faye Messner's life.

Elton John's musical with Scissor Sisters front man Jake Shears about the life of gay icon Tammy Faye Bakker Messner is set to premiere at London's Almeida Theatre this October.

The show, Tammy Faye, will tell the story of the American televangelist, who preached Christianity while gaining the support of the LGBTQ+ community because of her empathy toward people living with HIV during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

"Tammy just wants to put the fun back into faith. But a new wave of ministers wants you not to just feel God in your heart, but in your homes, in your schools, and in the law too," reads the musical's synopsis.

Directed by Rupert Goold, the show will feature music by John with lyrics by Shears.

"I think there's quite a lot of faith music and church music influences in classic Elton John," Goold told The Guardian. "Tammy came to early fame in the '70s, and then became a different kind of public figure in the '80s and '90s. And the score in some ways traces Elton's own musicality through those periods as well."

Tammy Faye's eccentric persona and openness led her to pioneer a religious discourse among public figures about LGBTQ+ people. She also become well known for standing up against those who were suggesting HIV was a divine punishment for being gay.

Related: Jessica Chastain on Tammy Faye's 'Punk Rock,' Drag Queen Fearlessness

"It was a bizarre, baroque, almost operatic life story," Goold said, describing the show's subject. "She's at times kitsch, at times sentimental, but basically a very empathic figure."

Rehearsals for Tammy Faye begin this week for the renowned cast, which includes Beautiful's Katie Brayben, who will star as Tammy Faye, The Book of Mormon's Andrew Rannells, and Academy Award nominee Zubin Varla. Their talents are joined by the play's scriptwriter, James Graham, author of the television dramas Sherwood and Brexit: The Uncivil War.

Tammy Faye will run in the Almeida Theatre from October 13 until December 3, and in the words of the Almeida, the show is going to be a "testament of faith, resilience and the temptations of success."

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