Donna Summer: The Musical Set For Fall Opening

Broadway World reports:

Donna Summer’s husband Bruce Sudano has big Broadway plans as he prepares to launch his new stage show SUMMER at La Jolla Playhouse in November. The show, based on the life of his late wife, will feature all of the disco queen’s greatest hits, with hopes taking the show the Broadway in 2018.

According to WENN, the show, directed by Jersey Boys’ Des McAnuff, will chronicle Summer’s life story using not only her most famous songs, but also some obscure ones. Most importantly, Sudano told WENN that he hopes for it to inspire and encourage young girls.

He said, “It’s a lesson for people going through struggle and who stumble and make mistakes,” he adds. “It’s gonna give them hope to overcome and succeed and carry on with their lives. It’s not about imitating Donna.”

Sudano reveals that he’ll be casting three actresses to portray Summer at different stages in her career. His nicknames for these roles: Duckling Donna, Disco Donna, and Diva Donna.

  • Cuberly

    Hmmmmm….wonder who’s going to be in the front row on opening night…(scratches chin.)

    • JoeMyGod

      I totally just googled flights to San Diego for November.

      • RaygunsGoZap

        I just checked and tickets are only available to La Jolla Playhouse subscribers. WAHHHHHHHH!

        • JoeMyGod

          Well, dammit.

          • bkmn

            You can always take a side trip to Black’s Beach.

      • Cuberly

        Ha! knew it!

      • sdnative1958

        My home town is hereby honored. : )

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    There’s no bigger musical theater queen in the world than me, but honey, I hate these jukebox musicals. No creativity and no imagination. All of them from Mama Mia to Get on Your Feet could be wiped off the face of the earth… even Beautiful sucked.

    • Gustav2

      I would be in tears if I went to the show. I won’t play the vids here.

      • another_steve

        Hear ya. She represented a certain “era” in queer post-Stonewall social life. Her best stuff — in the 1970s — was pre-HIV/AIDS.

        ‘Nuf said.

    • JoeMyGod

      Xanadu was fantastic. Worst ever: Ring Of Fire, the Johnny Cash musical. And I’m a huge Johnny Cash fan.

      • Anastasia Beaverhousen

        I loved Xanadu, but that was originally written as a movie musical the songs became popular from it. They added a few additional ELO songs (Evil Woman, etc.) but the bio with their songs is really not creative to me at all. Jersey Boys, etc…awful.

  • another_steve

    Old fairies and lezzies reading here, raise your hand if you remember dancing to girl in the clubs.

    It was physically impossible not to get up and dance, when she came on.

    • KCMC

      Last Dance was my ’79 prom theme.

      • another_steve

        And it was (of course) the last song our deejay played at man’s and my wedding reception.

        • KCMC

          your date was clearly better dance partner than my beard, older sister’s college friend. Could not end soon enough.

    • PickyPecker
      • another_steve

        Ohmigod thank you, PP.

        One of my favorites.

      • CanuckDon

        Our Love/ Lucky/ Sunset People……16 minutes of pure disco bliss!

    • Skokieguy [Larry]

      *raises hand* And Last Dance was required by law to be played at closing time at pretty much every disco, ever.

      I still have the worn vinyl of many of her albums.

      • another_steve

        I can always rely on you, Larry.

        There’s a very select and wonderful subset of old queers on this blog.

        • Skokieguy [Larry]

          Ah, Tatela! At what age does Old Queer become an appropriate moniker? I thought I could still get away with Mature. Or Daddy. LOL

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      • MT YVR

        Oh god I’d forgotten THAT… jesus wept.

    • Skokieguy [Larry]

      And at The Bar in Champaign (University of Illinois) 90% of the drag queens wore her hair. It was the $19.95 wet look wig that you’d comb out till it got big. I know too much.

      • edrex

        this knowledge must not be lost.

        • another_steve

          ^^ Word.

          • MT YVR

            Who in hell forgets AquaNet’s smell? lol

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    • netxtown

      Well, I must, if you will, gloat with my two cent story.

      Had been in the Azores for a little over a year and had already set up my little disco show spinning vinyl at the NCO and officers clubs. of course we were months behind on current tunes. But!! it just happened that friends of mine were on leave in the US when Bad Girls was released….and they brought to me the very first copy of it any where in the islands. It was pure joy – and i was the only record spinner who had it! i was sooooo hot shit using the opened dbl album to serve as a ‘block’ to the turntables…..until some drunk squid knocked it over. Oh…the days of dancin with Donna…..

      • another_steve

        Lol. Great story, netxtown. 😉

        I love these comment threads precisely because of stories like yours.

    • netxtown

      oh…oh…and there was a dj up in Denver….Johnny Contreras(I think) .early/mid eights who would spin a mix leading with Love’s in Control that was a crowd pleaser big time.

      Anybody here remember the ‘touring’ disco show called (I think) Back Tracks? Seems I recall they were based out of DC.

    • netxtown
      • TKW


      • TKW

        When ever I am down/breaking up/need inspiration I still play this and this

        • Tim Patterson

          a thousand times YES!

      • Lawerence Collins

        Love is the healer, Melody of love. Too many to count.

    • netxtown

      Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…..

      For a ‘rock’ group, I think they did this quite well…

    • She was beautiful, brilliant,amazing, galvanizing ….Then her bigot Jesus ruined everything.

    • Lawerence Collins
    • John

      I guess I’m showing my age….sitting alone at the end of the bar nursing a scotch – on the rocks…mumbling to no one, “those were the days my friend….those were the days…”

      I miss disco!!! I miss that era!!! Those were the days….indeed…those were the days…

      I’m so glad I got to experience it all, in San Francisco, no less…The Gay Mecca!

    • MT YVR

      Oh lord. Little John was a DJ. He wasn’t even five feet tall. But when he started playing and wasn’t paying attention, just danced while working the booth, he was a ball of fucking sex.

      He used to beat mix. And he loved Donna. He played Pride and half the WORST bars in town (one place called the Shaggy had shag on the walls. EVERY WHERE. And people were convinced half the patrons vanished at some point into that shit). It was always awesome to listen to his mixes. He actually had one of the single largest vinyl collections in BC before he died. Over twenty years of collecting.

      He used to make cds at the end, of his sets that he wanted to play. One I swear to this day was a love letter to me, which… well it had Donna on it. Love is a Healer. That one will always, surprise, be a favourite of mine.

      Jesu and Shiva but I miss the clubs and that thunder in the bones from a good damned bass. And a hot man dancing with you, slick with sweat, a ready smile as you ground against him.

      • another_steve

        LOL at the “shag on the walls” reference!

        Asbury Park New Jersey had a club called the “M&K.” During the 70s and for some years after, it was the gay place to spend a Saturday night along the Jersey shore.

        There was an upstairs lounge where women hung out, and its walls were covered in a deep red felt/carpet.

        Your “shag” reference made me think of that. 😉

  • Acronym Jim

    I, for one, hope this production answers the enduring mystery of why someone left their cake out in the rain.

    • Jerry

      And why, oh why, didn’t they make a copy of the recipe?

      • TKW

        They didn’t have personal computers to back up onto in those days.

    • Pollos Hermanos

      It was Warren Beatty right?

      He did everything to everyone.

    • Natty Enquirer

      They probably got mugged.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    Hard to name a favorite song of hers but this is a gem that I can listen to over and over again.

  • KCMC

    what about gospel Donna?

    • RavennaBonet

      no thanks

    • another_steve

      Controversial. There was a major scandal concerning purportedly homophobic comments of hers. Jesus and the such.

      As I recall, her manager apparently got to her in time and she publicly denied being a queer-hater.


      Her art stands on its own.

      • netxtown

        I heard all the “yes she did” and “no she didn’t” and really didn’t care. There was absolutely nothing that would sully the most fantastic nights of dancing to a clear and beautiful voice. With Pete Bellote and Georgio Marader – the music was hugely moving.

  • PickyPecker
  • JoeMyGod

    In 2008 a friend and I got to sit in on the SiriusXM studio broadcast of a live Donna Summer concert. Full band, her husband on drums, the works. Maybe 30 people crowded around on folding chairs. Totally braggable.

    • JoeMyGod

      Donna gave us a full-on diva moment when she refused to continue without a room temperature Diet Dr. Pepper. The panicked stagehands were amusing.

  • BeaverTales

    The 70s musical is becoming a thing: Movin’ Out ; Mamma Mia ; Summer.

    The Bee Gees one flopped 🙁

    The only 70s musicals left to make that could possibly make more money are the Eagles and Earth Wind and Fire.

    • Cuberly

      As much as so many people don’t particularly like Fleetwood Mac, I’d add them to the list. Lots of great drama in that band. So much of their music was indicative of the spats back stage.

      Full disclosure, I really love Fleetwood Mac…lol…

      • CanuckDon

        That would make a great musical.

      • BeaverTales

        I LOVE Fleetwood Mac. I got my first transistor radio at age 8 when Tusk was popular and the drums helped me fall asleep. Been a fan ever since …

        The 70s was probably the best American Decade of Music. I was either in grade school or diapers for most of it, but they are my happiest musical memories.

  • JoeMyGod

    My favorite “obscure” Donna track.

  • M Jackson

    Her Christmas album “Christmas Spirit” is glorious, and I don’t even like Christmas albums.

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    Thank you for posting all the videos!

    Toot toot, beep beep.

  • We all have our favorite Donna. Here’s mine.

  • mr wonderful

    Donna Summer Roller Disco Party Is Coming Back to Boston


    Not yet scheduled for next month, but seems to be a big hit

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    Saw Donna at the Chicago Civic Opera house. I was maybe 15 or 16. [Fuck you to everyone doing the math in your heads] : – )

    Honestly, she almost seemed a bit shy as if engaging with the audience made her uncomfortable. Not Diva ish at all, but reluctant to fully let go like Patti Labelle or
    Patti LuPone.

  • worstcultever

    I don’t know why but I think Donna’s “Last Dance” is simply the most perfect pop song ever. Ever. EVER.

    I was verklempt and fighting back tears watching that vid. The crowd just can’t NOT get up. The song is so timeless, compelling, melancholy, propulsive, cheeky, joyous, anthemic. And no other singer could have brought it to life with that kind of conviction.

    (GOD those early days of finally being out and havin a blast in the bars!)

    Anyway, the musical sounds fun I guess – why the heck not. They’re gonna have to find some very kickass singers, though.

  • JoeMyGod

    That first clip I posted from 1974 is almost unbearably cheesy. But it was a huge hit in the Netherlands, where it reached #2 on the pop singles chart.

  • JoeMyGod

    Speaking of obscure, at 18 years old Donna got her start in the German touring production of “Hair.” The full cast album appeared on YouTube a couple of years ago.

  • tchowski

    This is why people who hate musicals hate musicals.

  • kcken

    It’ll be my Last chance.. for romance, and the mystery of love, but no more tears!!!

  • Danieruw

    “Oh Billy Please” from “Cats Without Claws”.
    Obscure, but apparently a big hit in Lebanon.

  • NowVoyager

    Bette Midler and Madonna also made a few “insensitive” remarks about the LGBT community during their careers, both being “gay icons” as well. So who really knows what is going on in someone else’s head, let alone their heart? In Summer’s case, the incident “allegedly” occurred after she became a “born again” Christian (I didn’t realize that particular cult believed in reincarnation — who knew). The tribalism that is organized religion depends on sowing seeds of division in order to perpetuate its facade of ersatz superiority. Sadly, many otherwise decent people fall into that cult-mentality and may not even be fully aware of the harm they do to others. But Summer’s claimed she did not say the hateful words attributed to her. Without multiple ear-witnesses and/or video/audio tape, we may want to give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, we in the LGBT community do not, as a rule, adhere to a rigid dogma of “judging others” like that “other” subset of misbegotten homo sapiens — do we? Anyway, I hope not.

    See article below:
    “Donna Summer’s Never-Before-Published 1989 Letter to ‘ACT UP’ Asking for Forgiveness”

    …at this link:

    • CanuckDon

      At that time, Donna’s big comeback album “Another Time Another Place” was set for release. There was a lot of excitement around that for us Donna fans because of it being produced by the Stock Aitken Waterman team who were very dominant on gay dancefloors everywhere with their huge catalogue of pop club hits.

      But they knew they needed to do some clever marketing to heal the pain over the furor that arose from her past remarks (words that had been so distorted that no one could agree on what was actually said). Although I hadn’t read it in any articles, I was certain that placing the song “If It Makes You Feel Good” on the B-side of the 12″ mix of “This Time I Know It’s For Real” was intentional as her musical apology. It personally satisfied me that way back then…intentional or not….

      • M Jackson

        I love that album. It has the cheesiest clap-track and the sound mixing is too soft, but the swirling melodies and Donna vocals are a dream!

  • Readen Reply

    My mother made me gay playing Donner Summer records constantly in the late 70s

    • M Jackson

      Robert Conrad made me gay in the second grade by taking his shirt off
      on “The Wild Wild West”. Best thing that ever happened to me.

  • bdsmjack

    I remember falling asleep to Donna Summer playing when I was a teenager. I wanted so bad to be able to go to a disco, but was too young. At some point, my best girlfriend and I figured out that we could get into clubs as long as we dressed up. We’d spend hours choosing the perfect costume for the evening. They didn’t really card like they do, today. We thought we were the shit, seventeen, young, with the world our oyster, I Feel Love blasting on the car cassette player on our way into the city.

  • greenmanTN

    I don’t know if you super Donna S fans will agree, but I thought Tessanne Chin (whom I had never heard of before seeing this clip. did an excellent version of Let’s Dance at the White House in 2014. The Obamas sure seemed to enjoy it.

  • another_steve

    So I had to go through all my Donna Summer album covers.

    Given the day, how brave and bold was this one?

  • wds

    I went to “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” expecting a fun-fest and wasn’t disappointed… You could tell who was of a “certain” age, a Donna fanatic and gay in the audience when a character came out and sang one line of a Donna Summer lyric … “I left my cake out in the rain” … the eruption was hysterical… Donna was the queen and I’ll look forward to the show …