The trend of movies being turned into glorious stage musicals is more popular than ever. Currently on the Toronto theater scene and one that shouldn’t be missed is Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The film, which was released in 1994, starred Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp. It follows the antics of two drag queens and a transsexual who get a cabaret gig in the middle of the desert. The movie was an instant hit with critics and audiences around the world. When discussions began to turn the hit film into a stage musical, the creators knew they had a tough act to follow. The play had to not only offer heartwarming moments, but huge lavish production numbers.
The stage version does not disappoint. It stars Olivier Award nominee Tony Sheldon , Tony Award nominee Will Swenson and Nick Adams as the trio of friends on this uplifting adventure who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback. The musical stage version is a treat from beginning to end. The story and performances are not only exhilarating but keep you riveted. The music will have your tapping your toes for the entire show, and the costumes are absolutely spectacular and dazzling. Each number is better than the last, and if you have never seen a full size bus on a live theatre stage — you’re in for a real treat. “Priscilla” (the bus) is hands down a scene stealer!!!
Priscilla Queen of the Desert the musical had its world premiere in Sydney in 2006 and has subsequently wowed audiences and critics alike in Melbourne and New Zealand, becoming the most successful Australian musical of all time. The London production is now in its second smash hit year in the West End at the Palace Theatre. Beyond Toronto and Broadway, further international dates are also in discussion for productions in Brazil, Scandinavia and Germany. Along with winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Costume Design for Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, the musical was also nominated for Best New Musical and Tony Sheldon was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical.
Priscilla is currently on stage in Toronto at The Princess of Wales Theatre until January 2, 2011. It then heads to Broadway’s Palace Theatre on February 28, and officially opens on March 20. Keep your eyes peeled for other great films that are getting the live theater treatment. Here are a few coming your way — A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum… The Lion King, Calendar Girls and the Tony award sensation, Billy Elliot. ~Bonnie Laufer Krebs