One of the best-loved shows to hit the global stage is about to find a whole new audience thanks to its release on DVD.
Naked Boys Singing -“ the smash hit musical that featured, well, men singing while naked -“ is released on 16 April.
But rather than give the production a Hollywood-style update, director Robert Schrock has remained true to his original vision and released a filmed copy of the stage show.
Even though the stage show has been such a success and played in major cities all over the world, we felt that there were many people who lived in rural areas who weren’t able to get to a city to see the show. The film was primarily made for them, Shrock told SSO.
I wrote a screenplay that expanded the stage version to a full length feature. It had a romantic storyline and all of the songs tied together very well. It’s a great movie.
[Movie house] Funny Boy was originally interested in filming that version, but when they started budgeting it, it was decided to film the stage version instead.
The idea for Naked Boys Singing was born in 1997 while Schrock was working as the artistic director of the Celebration Theatre, a gay and lesbian theatre in Los Angeles.
I knew that my audiences liked musicals, and also nudity. So, why not put them together? Shrock asked.
Many years ago I appeared naked in an Off Broadway show in NY (The Dirtiest Show in Town) and I knew how liberating of an experience that was for me and I wanted to convey that feeling of celebration in Naked Boys Singing.
It took a year for the show to come together and it opened in March 1988. From there it went on to be a worldwide hit, touring the globe and creating a stir on every continent.
Of course casting was important -“ but size didn’t matter -¦ well, not really.
Penis size is never a consideration -¦ except when it’s too large and can become a distraction, Schrock said.
And the cast knew exactly what they were in for, so getting naked was not a problem.
The stage show’s success came despite Schrock’s initial difficulties in financing the production.
The original Los Angeles production was done in a small not for profit theatre, so the funds were part of the seasonal budget, he said.
However, a year later when we opened off Broadway in NY, funding was surprisingly difficult to find and we had to postpone the opening while we looked for more money.
The funding for the film all came from Funny Boy Films and I believe they and a difficult time.
The DVD was filmed at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles.
Schrock said it was a hectic experience thanks to the time constraints.
We created an entirely new stage production just for the movie, he said.
We had two and a half weeks to mount the production and then four days to shoot it. It was insane.
But what the DVD lacks in production values -“ it’s no Hollywood blockbuster and some of the stage magic is missing -“ it certainly makes up for in wow factor. Watching a bunk of men dancing on stage while singing is certainly a curious way to spend a rainy afternoon.
My favourite moment in the stage show is the reveal, when the audience first sees the penises, Schrock said.
When the audience is comprised mostly of women (which is the norm now) they squeal and scream as if they were seeing a reunion of the Beatles. It’s really fun.
The movie tries to capture that, but it just isn’t the same.
I think the gimmick of the nudity gets the audiences into the seats, but it’s the strength of the material and songs that keeps their interest. Most audiences say that after the first few minutes, they forget to look.
And with all those gorgeous boys spending hours together in the buff -“ surely there must have been a little backstage romance?
Ahhh, backstage. It’s just like any other backstage – it’s a workplace. And to my knowledge, the only backstage romance occurred in Sydney where the female choreographer and the male musician met each other and there is now at least one offspring from that romance, Schrock said.
Oh, and one of the performers and the piano player moved in with each other in Sao Paulo. It was very sweet.
The DVD of Naked Boys Singing is released on April 16. To buy a copy visit www.outdvd.com.au.