A musical about the life of Touko Laaksonen, the artist best known by his famous signature Tom of Finland, will premiere on January 2017. The show will be a part of the official programme of events that celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence.

Creative team: libretto by Tuomas Parkkinen, music by Jussi Vahvaselkä and Jori Sjöroos, direction and choreography by Reija Wäre, set design by Jani Uljas, costume design by Tuomas Lampinen.

Tickets for the performances will go on sale this spring.

The masculine 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 art has also gradually found a place for itself in Finland, being featured on stamps, textiles and books, among other manifestations. The musical’s libretto is written by playwright Tuomas Parkkinen, and it particularly focuses on Laaksonen’s art, dreams and their impact.

- The musical tells the story of how Touko Laaksonen became Tom of Finland. A man who drew his fantasies into such realistic pictures that were easy to identify with, making it possible for millions of men to find themselves and their sexuality, describes Parkkinen amidst the process of writing the musical.

Mikko Kouki, Artistic Director of Turku City Theatre, says that the idea for the musical originated in-house.

- Tom of Finland the musical will continue the examination of regional phenomena in Turku City Theatre. It is interesting to see a man emerge from Kaarina, a town right next to Turku, to become an international role model who 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 it will be created in cooperation with 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, says Durk Dehner, president and cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation.

- Our sexuality isn’t only expressed when engaging in sex. It’s a full-time, healthy celebration that is enjoyed with gusto. Touko Laaksonen was also a composer; what more fitting tribute to his depictions of visual ribaldlry than on the musical stage! I can picture him in the audience in rapture, Dehner continues.

Jussi Vahvaselkä and Jori Sjöroos compose the musical. Sjöroos, who is known as a composer and producer, is excited about his new break into musical theatre.

- So far, we have composed a rather plentiful palette of raw versions, songs and moods. Jussi and I come from somewhat different musical backgrounds, which is sure to enrich the final result in this genre, Sjöroos describes.

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.

The musical is aimed at a wide target audience, and marketing is also carried out outside Finland. For this reason, the performance will also have English subtitles.


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