Tammy Faye Messner, formerly known as Tammy Faye Bakker during her time hosting "The PTL Club" Christian program with her former husband Jim Bakker, is set to take center stage on Broadway. The highly anticipated musical, titled "Tammy Faye," is scheduled to debut during the 2024-25 season.
With an impressive lineup of talent, the musical is sure to be a showstopper. Pop icon Elton John has composed the score, while Jake Shears, a member of the platinum-selling band Scissor Sisters, has written the lyrics.
While the star power behind the scenes is undeniable, the real star of the show is none other than Tammy Faye Messner herself. Known for her distinctive heavy eye makeup and her rapid rise to fame, Tammy Faye's story is one of triumph and tragedy. Together with Bakker, she built a thriving network through their "PTL" (Praise the Lord) program and even created a Christian theme park called Heritage USA. Their business empire earned them a staggering $120 million annually. However, their world came crashing down when Bakker became entangled in a sex scandal, along with revelations about their extravagant lifestyle making headlines.
Following a successful run on London's West End, where it garnered positive reviews, "Tammy Faye" is now making its way to Broadway. The New York Times hailed Elton John's score as a "savvy amalgam of country twang and rousing pop-rock ensemble numbers," while industry publication Variety described the musical as "riotously entertaining."
Fans and theater enthusiasts alike can eagerly anticipate the arrival of "Tammy Faye" on Broadway – a production that promises to captivate audiences with its remarkable storytelling and unforgettable music.
Elton John and Tammy Faye: A New Broadway Musical on the Horizon?
The upcoming Broadway production "Tammy Faye" has generated significant buzz in the entertainment industry. However, despite the excitement surrounding this new show, there are several factors that could pose challenges to its success.
One potential obstacle is the risk associated with basing a production on a well-known figure. The recent example of "Diana," a musical about Princess Diana, serves as a cautionary tale. Despite initial anticipation, the show had a short-lived run on Broadway, lasting less than two months.
Another factor to consider is the lukewarm reception of the 2021 film "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," which focused on the life of Tammy Faye Messner. The movie underperformed at the box office, bringing in only $2.6 million worldwide. However, it did earn Jessica Chastain an Oscar for her portrayal of Tammy Faye.
In addition to these challenges, Broadway itself is still grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic. The 2022-23 season saw a 14% decline in ticket sales compared to the pre-pandemic peak in 2018-19, with shows grossing $1.58 billion. Industry experts predicted a faster recovery, but the reality has proven otherwise.
Despite these headwinds, Elton John's presence in the production may tip the scales in its favor. The musical maestro has a remarkable track record on Broadway, with his hit show "The Lion King" grossing an astounding $1.9 billion since its debut in 1997. In fact, the production continues to draw sizable audiences and generate significant ticket sales.
According to industry insiders like Victoria Cairl, the appeal of "Tammy Faye" extends beyond Elton John's involvement. Older audiences are likely to be familiar with his music and Tammy Faye Messner's story, while the younger crowd will recognize Jake Shears' contributions. This broad appeal may give "Tammy Faye" a wider market than what is typically seen on Broadway.
In conclusion, the Broadway arrival of "Tammy Faye" holds both promise and challenges. While the show faces potential obstacles, such as the success of previous productions based on well-known figures and the slow recovery of the Broadway industry, the involvement of Elton John and its multi-generational appeal could ultimately prove to be a winning combination. It remains to be seen how "Tammy Faye" will fare on the Great White Way, as producers were not available for comment at this time.