I’m baaaaaaaaack! And tingling with the excitement, joy and delight of a great new GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY musical, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” which is landing on Broadway at the Palace theater right about NOW! KA-BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s wonderful! Gay-Fun-derful! “Priscilla” explodes like a glitter ball bomb, scattering confetti and good will for all and is even MORE over the Top than the classic queer film version. I know that doesn’t sound possible, but it is, believe me, it is!
Subtle, this isn’t. But how could it be anything else? It’s a non-stop musical with numbers from the ’70s, and some from the ’80s(Madonna’s) and none whatsoever from ABBA.
As it was in the movie.
And let’s not mince words, Madoona’s songs are NOT an acceptable substitute for ABBA’s which are currently STILL in heavy usage on Broadway in “Mama Mia” a show that seems to have no end. Hence the switch to the Material Grrrl’s, er, material.
And the ’80’s just don’t have the same camp resonance as the ’70s and the film of “Priscilla” was pure ’70s, and therefore morely truly, regally camp.
Madonna’s songs sadly make the whole show seem, well, er, tackier than the film version.
But Madge, as she’s called here, will just HAVE to do, because everything else about the show is just spectacular. With the emphasis on SPECK-TACKLE!
The costumes for the film, if memory serves, won an Oscar, and the gorgeous, eye-popping gowns and wigswigswigs(by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner) and will probably do the same thing when the Tonys roll around, and guess what? It’s TONY SEASON! Yes, already the plays are opening every other second every which way you look. On Broadway And Off. And it’s wonderful that they are!
And you hope that they’re all gonna be wonderful. And not all of them will be. But “Priscilla” sure is!
The three leads were all unknowns before the curtain went up, but now they’re bona fide Broadway stars. In my book! And turn in such wonderful performances they almost make you forget the great performances of Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce. YES, GUY PEARCE, who all sizzled in full drag on the screen. Yes, “The King’s Speech”, “Momento”s Guy Pearce, who is now a tres butch Hollywood A-Lister!
And I bet all three of these great gays, er, guys, will all be nominees come Tony Time, which as I said, begins NOW! Will Swenson, as the “straight” one, who has a previous wife and child. An incredibly touching Luke Mennikus brings the audience to tears as the lonely son Benji.
Benji provides the “plot” of “Priscilla” this time more heavily emphasized than in the movie. Benji wants to meet his absent father. Even if he does wear “purple pants.”
And Benji and his Mom are located in the middle of nowhere, in the Back of the Back of Beyond of the Australian Out Back, Alice Springs.
And Tick a.k.a. Mitzi is reluctant to make the, er, confrontation, and takes old friend, Bernadette, a stately, classy transexual along for support( and back -up singing). Bernadette is (Terence Stamp in the movie) played to purr-fection by the Original Aussie(and London, and Toronto) Bernadette, Tony Sheldon. Who is staring at a Best Actor in a Musical Tony Nomination. And Will Swenson may be, too. After all, Douglas Hodge won in this category just last year as Zaza in the recent revival of “La Cage Aux Folles.”
Or will they put Will Swenson in the Supporting Actor in a Musical category? Ah, but then he’d be up against the,er, stiffest competition of all, the break-out star Nick Adams, as the loud, motor-mouth Felicia, who pretty much steals the show, with one show stopping number after the other. Almost too numerous to list.
And I kept thinking I’d see his handsome face(and fizz-eeek!) before and the program notes reveal we’ve seen Nick strutting his/her stuff in the chorus of the latest “La Cage” and also “A Chorus Line”s revival and also “The Pirate Queen.” Yes, I’m such a Broadway baby I even survived “The Pirate Queen” and no, the studly/femme Nick Adams DIDN’T play the title role. But THIS TIME!
He arguably has the role of his/her career making bitchy/lovable Felicia a magnificent gay monument. And probably winning a Tony come June, too!
It was all so wonderful, I’ve run out of glittering adjectives! Go! Just GO! To “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”! Long may she rave!