The Tailor-Made Man is the true story of William Haines, the silent screen star who was fired by Louis B Mayer of MGM Studios because he was gay and refused to marry and give up his lifelong partner Jimmy Shields. The new musical will receive its world premiere at the Arts Theatre in London opening on Thursday 21 February 2013, following previews from 13 February, for a limited eight-week season ending on 6 April.
In 1930, William “Billy” Haines was one of MGM’s most idolised male stars, second only to John Gilbert. On screen he was tailor-made to get the girl in the last reel. On the back lot he cruised every bit player and stagehand in sight. Billy lived openly with his lover and former stand-in Jimmy Shields. This was tolerated by the studio until rumours started to seep out into the wider world. Louis B Mayer ordered him to marry the sultry silent screen vamp Pola Negri. Billy refused and so Louis B Mayer fired him. Billy’s defiance of the studio led to his second and even more successful career as an interior designer to the stars.
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