PlayWell Productions has today announced full details on the world premiere of Brian Mullin’s Live To Tell: (A Proposal For) The Madonna Musical, which will tour to Off West End venues Omnibus Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre this Spring.
Live To Tell: (A Proposal For) The Madonna Musical follows the quest of Brian, a Madonna superfan living with HIV, as he pitches himself to Madonna to create a jukebox musical based on her songs, whilst also facing what it means in his own life to survive with HIV.
Living in a disabled body, Brian wants to reinvent himself — just like Madonna. He can’t live to tell a tale of jukebox triumph until he confronts the stigma and side effects of long-term survival. Just like a prayer, this show will take you there.
The production will run at the Omnibus Theatre from 7th-18th February followed by a run at Camden People’s Theatre from 4th-15th April.
A digital version of the autobiographical show was commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre in 2021 and had previously been performed in development phases at scratch nights at The Yard Theatre and New Wolsey Theatre.
Brian Mullin will play the self-inspired role of Brian with Dan de la Motte playing all other characters and Nadya Ginsburg (2 Broke Girls, RuPaul’s Drag Race) providing the voice of Madonna.
Joining Mullin on the creative team are Deirdre McLaughlin as Director, Josh Anio Grigg as Digital & Sound Designer, Alex Thomas as Lighting Designer and Steph J Weller for PlayWell Productions as Producer.
Mullin said of his play, “Madonna is an icon of Reinvention. For 40 years, with every album or new look, she keeps changing herself and adapting in bold new ways. Even now, we’re told she’ll be on tour in 2023 reinventing her huge catalogue of hits. She’s also someone who’s been actively fighting to support people with HIV since the very onset of the epidemic.
As someone living with HIV for ten years now, I’ve had my own fantasy of reinvention. When you’re feeling weighed down by daily medication and the experience of societal stigma, the dream of starting all over again is very powerful. Thanks to medication which is freely available on the NHS, I’m able to live a long and happy life. The medical breakthrough of U = U means that people with undetectable HIV levels cannot pass the virus on to others, which is incredible!
Live to Tell is not really about Madonna, it’s about what she symbolises. Staying strong and surviving is her superpower, and that seems really appealing to a mere mortal like me! So in the show I pitch myself to Madonna to help her create a jukebox musical based on her songs. It doesn’t all go according to plan, and I have to face up to what it means in my own life to survive with HIV.”
The director Deirdre McLaughlin said “So many of the HIV stories that get told within mainstream entertainment have an overwhelming tone of sadness, melodrama and a lack of individual agency. We so rarely see anything shown that reflects the actual day to day experience of someone living today with HIV. That’s why including joyful pop music and camp humour into this story feels pretty revolutionary and absolutely necessary when it comes to representing people’s lived experience to the world – particularly members of the queer community whose experiences can be more nuanced and complicated.
Stories of the HIV epidemic have been experiencing a resurgence onstage since the COVID pandemic as we are all reflecting on how we survive and thrive within a global health crisis. Amid this unfolding disaster, we must return to stories of kindness and solidarity – we will get through this together. We must remember that community and hope are things worth fighting for. Laughter can also be incredibly healing and if our audience leaves having laughed together, then I think Brian’s story is doing something really valuable.”
The production will also be working with local grassroots charities to provide a series of creative workshops for other people living with HIV.
Tickets for the Omnibus run are now on sale at www.omnibus-clapham.org/live-to-tell/. Tickets for CPT will be on sale from 24th January at www.cptheatre.co.uk.