Friday, March 12, 2010

Elton Attends Next Fall Premiere

The drama, which had a nice success off-Broadway last year, suddenly became a wham bam slam glam opening. Cops. Walkie-talkies. Photographers. Public relations types with phones in every crevice announcing, "He's on his way" . . . then . . . "He's nearly here." When it began to feel Elton must be coming from Cleveland, finally came the breathless whisper "He's here." Then: "We're taking him in this entrance."

Not your usual razzmatazz jazzed up Sir Elton. Except for little dangling diamond earrings (small stones), it was a dark striped suit. Proper tie. His Sirship could have been put together by Joe Biden's stylist. And why, how, did he get involved in this show?
"David originally saw it and told me, 'I've just seen a spectacular piece of work. It's wonderful.' Our 'Billy Elliot' director also loved it. And a friend with whom I'm involved in another project wrote it. So they asked us to get involved."

You put money in it?
"Yes," said David.
"Yes," said Elton. "And it wasn't all that cheap."

The subject matter spans a five-year relationship between two gay men. One young, a Southern Christian; the other, a nonbeliever. Although what they deal with could be in any relationship -- even between a man and woman -- one then has an accident. The parents didn't know he was gay. The partner is excluded from seeing him.

But what about this so resonated with him that he felt impelled to become involved?
Against a wall in some dinky part of the theater, a somber quiet Elton John said: "David saw it several times. I read it several times. There's some of us in it. Years back I had a relationship, and I had absolutely no idea in the world he was going to do this . . . he threw himself under a truck. There was so much grief . . .

"Look, we all need love. We all have the same fears and insecurities. We should all be allowed to be free."
"It's also the right timing for this," said David Furnish. "The religious divide between right and left has gotten wider, and so the rights of gay people never got back to where it was heading."

Right after curtain, Himself was on a plane. "I have five hours in England then off to South Africa to do something with Annie Lennox on my AIDS foundation. Back here April 1 for the 'Billy Elliot' opening in Chicago."

- NY

If you ride the subway in New York City, or have even just ventured outside these past few weeks, it's been nearly impossible to miss the posters touting tonight's Broadway opening of Next Fall, a drama about an older atheist (Patrick Breen) and his hot hard-core Christian boyfriend (Patrick Heusinger — yes, Lord Marcus Beaton from Gossip Girl). Emblazoned on each ad are the words/imprimatur, “Elton John and David Furnish present ... " Which is why we were a bit shocked when, at last night's reception for the show, we learned that Sir Elton had only just seen Next Fall for the first time that evening. "Yeah, I [produced] it without seeing it,” Sir Elton told us. “I did it completely blind!”

He explained that he first became aware of the show when his husband, Furnish, went to see it at Playwrights Horizons with The Reader director Stephen Daldry. "He phoned me up after coming out of the theater and was just raving about it," said Sir Elton. "They decided it was going to come to Broadway, and they said, 'We need help as far as getting exposure, since none of the cast are household names. Would you be prepared to lend your name?' We said, 'Yeah, and if you need us to put up some money, we'll do that, too.' Because we think it's a fantastic project." With his Billy Elliot still running strong, and another stage project in development with Next Fall playwright Geoffrey Nauffts, Sir Elton is now a bona fide Broadway producer. "Yeah, never thought that would happen!" he laughed, than mused about what perk he should demand. "Maybe I can get a senior-citizen pass and get in free to matinees or something."


See an interview with Sir Elton below:

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