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A Reboot of the Underground Classic “The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert”

In 1994, a little Australian film called The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert debuted to little noise but high critical acclaim. It was the first of its kind, and the first movie compared to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of course, in 1994, that was quite a bold comparison. (Nowadays, every movie is calling itself the next Rocky Horror.)

However, for its time, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert was a revolutionary movie that influenced many other drag queen and GLBT movies, such as To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, and most recently, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

How do you follow up a movie made 17 years ago? And with no video cameras or working vans? You have to bring it to Broadway, and that is what precisely what the producers of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the musical have done. The musical features the same characters of the movie, including the tough but vulnerable Bernadette Bassenger, the confused but caring Anthony “Tick” Belrose and the obnoxious Adam Whitely.

One of the most interesting elements of the movie is the quirky choice of soundtrack (as the characters’ show consists of lip-syncing in drag costume), which is also present in the musical production. Favorites include “I Will Survive”, “I’ve Never Been to Me” and “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

Amazingly, the production actually recreates the beauty of the Australian Outback on stage, even while finding the time (and the costumes!) to do 20 full-scale production numbers. The costumes are arguably the most amazing element of the production, as the cast slips into new designs by Academy Award winning designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner.

Some elements of the musical have been redone since the production’s 2006 debut, such as a new cast (Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams) and a few new songs like “It’s Raining Men” and “Finally.”

If you remember the original film then you will be astounded by the Broadway reimagining of this contemporary classic about a few cross-dressing blokes and a magical bus. Get your Priscilla Queen of the Desert tickets to see the event in a city near you!

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