According to New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel and his spies what is being called “The Donna Summer Project” was just workshopped by Jersey Boy‘s director Des McAnuff. It’s a gender-bending new musical about the life of disco queen Donna Summer. According to the Post,
Three different actresses played the late singer during three key stages — childhood, superstardom, fading pop icon. I’m told Ariana DeBose, who’ll be on Broadway later this season in “A Bronx Tale: The Musical,” was terrific as Summer at the height of her fame.
“The [cross-dressing] is interesting,” says a source. “I’m not sure what it’s all about, other than a commentary, I guess, on all those female impersonators who do Donna Summer routines at Boots & Saddle” — the legendary drag bar in Greenwich Village.
All Summer’s hits are in the show — “Love To Love You Baby,” “Heaven Knows,” “Bad Girls” — toot, toot, yeah, toot, toot! — “Dim All the Lights,” “No More Tears,” “On the Radio” and, of course, “MacArthur Park,” with its aforementioned cake.
“Those fucking songs are so catchy. I can’t get that cake song out of my head, even though the lyrics are ridiculous and it goes on forever.”
The musical is a straightforward bio show, with not much in the way of surprises. Summer was born and raised in Boston to working-class parents. She landed a role in a European production of “Hair” and began to make a name for herself in Germany. She shot to fame during disco’s heyday, then drifted into limbo-land when Studio 54 and that era came to an end.
She became a born-again Christian and upset her gay fans when she allegedly said AIDS was God’s punishment for an immoral lifestyle. She denied ever saying that, but the charge dogged her for the rest of her life.
Besides the Donna Summer musical, there’s also new show called This Ain’t No Disco! set in the club scene of 1979 with an original score by Stephen Trask who wrote Hedwig and the Angry Inch with John Cameron Mitchell.
Disco is in the air, kids! Last Dance!
(via NY Post)