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"Naked Boys" coming to big screen

BoysBy Gregg Goldstein, Reuters

In the grand tradition of "Dreamgirls" and "Funny Girl," the long-running off-Broadway musical "Naked Boys Singing!" is coming to the big screen.

The bare posteriors of the 10-member cast are being preserved for posterity at Los Angeles' Hayworth Theater, where the gay-themed project is set to complete shooting this week.

Since opening at L.A.'s Celebration Theater in 1998 and moving to its current New York run the following year, the nudity-filled revue has played in more than 20 countries and toured theaters around the country -- and not without controversy. The Milwaukee Gay Arts Center production of the show, featuring such original songs as "I Beat My Meat," "Perky Little Porn Star" and "Nothin' but the Radio On," was closed by the local vice squad last year. Similar shutdowns occurred in 2004 in Atlanta and in 2003 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The screen version will feature a restaged version of the play, said producer Kirkland Tibbels, and new arrangements of the original songs.

Robert Schrock, director of the original production, is shooting the 16-song feature, with Troy Christian handling the digital video direction and choreography.

Original L.A. cast member Vincent Zamora is part of the ensemble cast, which also includes Andrew Blake Ames ("The Assassination of Richard Nixon"), Jason Currie ("The Bible: Search for the Truth"), James Hodges, Joseph Keane, Anthony Manough (Broadway's "Jesus Christ Superstar"), Joe Souza, Kevin Stea ("Madonna: Truth or Dare"), Phong Truong (London's "Jerry Springer: The Opera") and Salvatore Vassallo ("Gigli").

Tibbels said that after his Funny Boy Films producing partner Sterling Zinsmeyer introduced him to the project in 2004, it took a year and a half to lock down film rights, largely because of the dozen-plus writers who created the show.

The film will be accompanied by a behind-the-scenes documentary, which will be released as a separate DVD or as a bonus DVD feature.

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