June 17, 2011

Priscilla, Queen of the Camp

Having enjoyed the movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert I was real curious on how it was going to be turned into a musical. I saw it Saturday matinee (6/4) and what campy fun it is!

The musical follows the plot of the movie very closely but has injected a lot of 80's pop / disco tunes making it so danceable. They do replace the Kylie Minogue songs with Madonna songs to make it more familiar with an American audience (personally, I would've preferred the former.....it preserves the "Aussie-ness" of the show). Nevertheless, I still want a copy of the cast album!

In this version, Tony Sheldon plays Bernadette, Will Swenson as Tick/Mitzi and Nick Adams as Adam/Felicia. Tony Sheldon and Will Swenson were so good at portraying their characters. They moved with such feminine grace and smoothness and got it down to the mannerisms. It's really impressive because it is so easy to fall into caricature with their roles but they have infused their characters with depth and heart. Nick Adams was fun as Felicia but he was also a distraction for me with those abs. Ha Ha!

Big kudos to Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner for the elaborate costumes. I am awestruck with how much detail went into those costumes and how numerous the costume changes were. It's like a fashion show with every change of scene! I also particularly loved how they staged Felicia's scene on top of the bus sitting on the huge high heel shoe. I was wondering how they would do that on stage and it is pretty well staged.

I am actually surprised that I enjoyed this musical more than the movie! There is a very touching scene between Tick and his son (played by angelic voiced Luke Kolbe Mannikus) towards the end of the show. Tick tries to get to know his son and also explains to him who he is and what he does. It's a very "lump in your throat" moment when father and son sing Always On My Mind in counterpoint. I tried to hold back tears and I don't ever remember the movie being this poignant.

The familiar disco/pop songs make the score very danceable. My friends Ariel and Victor says it's the gayest show on Broadway and I would have to agree!

Some photos I took:

Will Swenson

C. David Johnson who played Bob

The stagedoor scene from across the street


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