That's the plan according to gossip columnist Billy Masters, who broke the news to the New York Post. On his website, Masters writes, "But a little birdie (actually, two birdies) told us that Rosie herself will take over the role of Big Sue in an effort to save the production. . . . Here are the top secret plans as they were outlined to me — the understudy will go on through the holidays, giving Rosie time to get up to speed, and then O’Donnell will swoop in to boost sales for January and February. To prepare, Rosie’s been working with a vocal coach daily, although there are still concerns as to whether she can get through 'Talk Amongst Yourselves.'" "Talk Amongst Yourselves" is Big Sue's vocally demanding solo ballad in Taboo's second act.
About the possibility of O'Donnell joining the company, Taboo's spokesperson told Playbill On-Line, "That's not true, but it was amusing subway reading." O'Donnell's personal representative told the Post, "This is not true. Rosie is on vacation with her family."
The Taboo spokesperson did, however, confirm that McCartney will begin her maternity leave after the Dec. 1 performance. The actress with the powerful voice is expected to give birth Dec. 13, and she is currently scheduled to return to the musical Jan. 6, 2004. According to the show's spokesperson, understudy Brooke Elliott will play Big Sue in the interim; Elliott's first performance is scheduled for Dec. 3.
The Rosie O'Donnell-produced Taboo began previews at the Plymouth Theatre Oct. 24 and officially opened Nov. 13. Tickets, priced between $80 and $100, are available through Telecharge, (212) 239- 6200.
For more information about the musical, visit www.tabooonbroadway.com.