Previewed 10 March 2009, Opened 23 March 2009, Closed 31 December 2011 at the Palace Theatre
The West End Premiere of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical in London
During the run there where two 'cast holidays' when there where no performances from Monday 6 to Sunday 19 September 2010, and from Monday 5 to Sunday 18 September 2011. This production played eight-performances-a-week: Monday to Saturday evenings, with afternoon matinees on Thursday and Saturday. except from Monday 30 May to Sunday 5 September when Monday evening performances where replaced with an afternoon matinee on Sundays.
Priscilla Queen Of the Desert The Musical is a heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla) searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and featuring a score of dance-floor classics, this new musical is a sensational journey to the heart of fabulous.
This new stage musical is based on the Oscar award-winning film, Priscilla, that tells the story of Tick, Bernadette and Adam, a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio that agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian outback.
Musical by Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott, with songs selected and interpolated by Simon Phillips, based on the Latent Image / Specific Films Motion Picture distributed by MGM.
The ORIGINAL cast from Tuesday 10 March 2009 to Saturday 6 March 2010 featured Jason Donovan as 'Tick (Mitzi)', Tony Sheldon as 'Bernadette', Oliver Thornton as 'Adam (Felicia)', and Clive Carter as 'Bob', with Emma Lindars, Kate Gillespie, Zoe Birkett as the 'Divas', along with Amy Field as 'Marion', Daniele Coombe as 'Shirley', John Brannoch as 'Frank', Kanako Nakano as 'Cynthia', Steven Cleverley as 'Farrah'/'Young Bernadette', Tristan Temple as 'Jimmy', Wezley Sebastian as 'Miss Understanding', Amy Edwards, Bob Harms, Craig Ryder, James Rees, Jeremy Secomb, John Phoenix, Jon Tsouras, Lewis Griffiths, Mark Inscoe, Matthew Cole, Phillip Arran, Will Peaco, and Zabrina Norry. Darius Caple, Gene Goodman, Christopher Miltiadou, Cameron Sayers, and Red Walker shared the role of 'Benjamin'.
The SECOND cast from Monday 8 March 2010 to 5 March 2011 included Jason Donovan as 'Tick/Mitzi' (up to Saturday 29 May 2010), Ben Richards as 'Tick/Mitzi' (from Tuesday 1 June 2010), Don Gallagher as 'Bernadette', Oliver Thornton as 'Adam/Felicia', John Bowe as 'Bob' (up to Wednesday 29 September 2010), and Ray Meagher as 'Bob' (from Thursday 30 September 2010).
The THIRD cast from 7 March to 31 December 2011 included Richard Grieve as 'Tick/Mitzi', Don Gallagher as 'Bernadette', Oliver Thornton as 'Adam/Felicia', Mark Moraghan as 'Bob' (up to Friday 4 October 2011), and Ray Meagher as 'Bob' (from Saturday 5 October 2011).
Directed by Simon Phillips with choreography by Ross Coleman, sets by Brian Thomson, costumes by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, lighting by Nick Schlieper, and sound by Michael Waters.
Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical made its world premiere in Sydney in October 2006 and has subsequently wowed audiences and critics alike in Melbourne and New Zealand to become the most successful Australian stage musical of all time.
"The joy of the show is its sheer burlesque splendour. The chorus of three feather-clad divas in red pineapple wigs who open the show, hovering on trapezes above a fairy-lit Sydney Harbour Bridge and belting out a high-octane version of Downtown, set the tone. A full-cast rendition of Go West makes the Village People look restrained, while the disco anthem Don't Leave Me This Way becomes the soundtrack to a high-camp funeral. Some of the jokes are as corny as Fray Bentos beef and, this being Australian humour, nobody gives XXXX about polite language. Kanako Nakano's show-stopping turn as a Thai bride doing unspeakable things with ping-pong balls is a benchmark for the level of humour - it really isn't Oscar Wilde. But all wrapped up as a shiny, pink-bowed package, this sumptuously dressed show works gloriously, with its parade of ever more jaw-dropping costumes an utter feast for the eye. Loud, lewd and lavish, it's about as subtle as a smack in the teeth with a didgeridoo, but who cares when it's this much fun?" The Daily Express
"I liked the original 1994 Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert film starring Terence Stamp, about a group of drag artists making an epic bus journey through the Australian Outback so that one of their number could be reunited with his son... One thing that the show cannot get across is the idea of a desert, which is a shame, as the film's success depended on the contrast between the flamboyant protagonists and the spectacular backdrop... Along the way I came to have some regard for Tony Sheldon as the ageing Bernadette and Oliver Thornton as a young drag artist with attitude, but, at two and a quarter hours, their journey seems a wearyingly long one. There are some great numbers but they are just bolted on to the work, rather than written for it in the way the big showstoppers were for the comparable but eminently more enjoyable La Cage Aux Folles." The Sunday Telegraph
"Priscilla Queen Of The Desert first hit the road as a film in which three drag queens travel from Sydney to a gig in Alice Springs in a silver bus named Priscilla. It is, of course, a journey of self-discovery, during which the trio encounters animosity and, finally, acceptance. Bernadette, the ageing transsexual, finds true love; Tick is accepted by his young son as a dad who shares a room with his boyfriend; Felicia, the bitchy 'gender illusionist', learns to keep his bitter 'von Trapp' shut. Restyled as a stage musical, its flimsy plot reinforced with, admittedly, deliciously naff disco numbers, it delighted audiences Down Under... So why, when all (admittedly mostly gay and/or Antipodean) around me were whooping, did I find this show so lowering? Quite simply because between the songs, of which you don't get enough, it's a witless, joyless, misogynistic stream of smutty dialogue and innuendo. It makes Mamma Mia! sound like Shakespeare... There's more to acting than dressing up, a matter director Simon Phillips has evidently overlooked. Worse, the only 'real' women are a bossy wife, a revolting slob and a mail-order bride. Not surprisingly, I couldn't wait to see the back of this bus." The Mail on Sunday
Priscilla in London previewed from 10 March 2009, opened on 23 March 2009, and closed on 31 December 2011