A musical about the life of Touko Laaksonen, the artist best known by his famous signature Tom of Finland, will premiere in Turku City Theatre in January 2017. The show will be a part of the official program of events that celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence.
The homoerotic drawings created by Laaksonen, who was born in Kaarina in 1920, have had an impact on western culture for many decades. The artist’s provocative work has also gradually found a place for itself in Finland, being featured for example on stamps, textiles and books. The musical’s libretto is written by playwright Tuomas Parkkinen, and it focuses on Laaksonen’s art, dreams and their impact.
“The musical tells the story of how Touko Laaksonen became Tom of Finland – an artist who drew such realistic pictures of his fantasies that men could easily identify them, making it possible for millions of men to find themselves and their sexuality,” describes Parkkinen amidst the process of writing the musical.
According to Mikko Kouki, Artistic Director of Turku City Theatre, the idea for the musical originated in-house.
“Tom of Finland the musical will continue Turku City Theatre’s tradition of focusing on regional stories and subjects. It is interesting to see how a man born Kaarina, a town right next to Turku, becomes an international role model who has influenced and continues to influence the field of visual arts as well as music and fashion.”
The musical will be directed by Reija Wäre and created in cooperation with the Tom of Finland Foundation.
“Tom of Finland gave his fellow homosexuals the freedom to define their own meaning of what a masculine homosexual man was, and the guidance to be secure in whatever identity they chose. He saw his brothers as well-rounded, strong, sensitive, fun loving and complete,” said Durk Dehner, president and co-founder of the Tom of Finland Foundation.
The auditions for the musical are currently underway, and talent is also being sought from outside Finland.
“The aesthetic of Tom of Finland’s drawings sets limits on the casting. In addition to Finland, we are also seeking talent from Sweden at least,” says Reija Wäre, the director and choreographer of the show.
Tickets for the performances will go on sale this spring.