It’s not just you: musical theater is becoming even gayer in 2018.
Along with the much-heralded Cher musical due next fall, there’s a Tina Turner musical hitting London in March and — as of now — a Donna Summer musical hitting New York in April.
In addition to working hard for your money, the musical — titled Summer: The Donna Summer Musical — will star three different actresses who embody Ms. Summer at different stages of her life. After addressing Summer’s Boston upbringing, the show will depict the Queen of Disco’s burgeoning success with producer Giorgio Moroder, as well as Summer’s later, uh, “troubled” years.
As you may recall, Summer was very open about her mental health issues following 9/11. While unable to leave her bedroom immediately following the attacks, she blamed the dust from the falling towers for the lung cancer that eventually claimed her life.
It was a far cry from the sensual, erotic persona she cultivated with songs like “Love to Love You Baby,” which featured Summer’s suggestive moans as a hook.
Still, Summer lived her life as an inspiring example of how female artists of the ‘70s and ‘80s could become more than just sex icons or one-hit wonders. She is still credited as one of the few stars of disco who were able to grow beyond that genre and segue into a pop-rock sound. She is also still known as America’s first female artist to have nabbed four No. 1 singles in a 13-month period.
Summer, which originated at San Diego’s famed La Jolla Playhouse (previously the birthplace of Memphis), will be directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) and produced by the former Mr. Mariah Carey, Tommy Mottola and the Dodgers. If anything, it will be interesting to see if the musical is able to finish on a positive note considering all the heaviness that Summer’s end-of-life entails — or if it just jumps the shark and ends with a depressing reminder of life’s fleeting nature. We’re hoping for the former.