New Tammy Faye Musical by Elton John & Jake Shears heads to the Almeida

The new musical based on the rise and fall of US televangelist Tammy Faye and her husband Jim Bakker is heading to the Almeida Theatre in London.

Directed by the theatre’s artistic director Rupert Goold, Tammy Faye The Musical (title to be confirmed) features a book by award-winning playwright James Graham (Best of Enemies, Ink), music by pop superstar Elton John (Disney’s The Lion King), and lyrics by The Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears.

Tammy Faye The Musical will open in early Autumn at the Almeida Theatre.

Fox Searchlight recently released a movie about Tammy and her husband Jim Bakker called The Eyes of Tammy Faye, starring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield, and directed by Michael Showalter. Chastain has been nominated for an Oscar for the role.

Tammy Faye & her husband Jim Bakker

American evangelist Tammy Faye Messner, with her former husband Jim Bakker, founded one of the leading televangelist groups in the US in the late 70s and 80’s. Widely known for her eccentric and glamorous persona on and off-air, Tammy Faye was religion’s answer to Dolly Parton. However, their lavish lifestyle all came crashing down amidst the scandal of her husband’s infidelity, their excessive spending and eventual fall from grace. Tammy re-emerged from all this with her faith intact to become a gay-icon and promoter of tolerance. Tammy died of cancer in 2007 aged 65.

Elton John, whose credits include Disney’s The Lion King and Billy Elliot, is also working on the musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada.

James Graham’s recent play Best of Enemies recently completed a successful run at the Young Vic starring David Harewood and Charles Edwards. Rumours persist that he is still working on another musical: an adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, with music by Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater (Sister Act).

Also see our previous post about Tammy Faye The Musical, including James Graham talking about the show.

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Simon Costanza
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