“Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical”: This desert dressed like a rainforest


Priscilla Queen Of The Desert took place in Australia but began its world tour in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theatre. It was a good place to start because every time a character entered the crowd broke into applause or laughter. This proceeded for the remainder of the night. With a multitude of costumes and relentless sex jokes, it was easy to understand why. Priscilla Queen Of the Desert brought fresh life to the desert every scene.

The show featured three main characters, all of whom were Drag Queens. Wade Mccollum played Tick and he showed a sympathetic and bitter side of a profession that is looked down upon by most. Adam, or Felicia was played by Bryan West, who was a great dancer and below average singer that brought a lot of energy to the set. Bernadette was played by Scott Willis, who was so feminine that I was surprised to find out the actor was a man(let alone one with the last name Willis). The Divas(Emily Afton, Bre Jackson, & Brit West) had resonant voices that resembled Dreamgirls.

The set shows a messy nail polish drawing to start the show, which was the perfect blend of tacky and hilarious that marched on throughout the show. The play had over 500 costumes, which were mostly gaudy. It was hard to even notice the number of costumes because of the seamless transitions. One of my favorite costumes was the paint brush costumes that girls dressed up in to paint a bus.

Not only were the costumes pulled off like a basketball warm up, the scenes were quickly transformed. The production took place in a desert, but there were several scenes in the bus and clubs that took you to a flashier world. Another great adjustment was when the actors needed to act like average people; they did so just as awkwardly as you or I would. The actors had strong voices in a musical stacked with 28 songs, the most memorable being “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “True Colors.”

When the film was released in 1994 in Australia it was regarded as a factor in putting positive LGBT messages onto the screen. While the script of the play is laced with offensive jokes, it shows the difficulties of discrimination and oppression. It also shows the love that Tick has for his son, making it hard to believe that this was all originally created almost 2 decades ago. The crowd that just “Voted No” this election clearly welcomed the positive portrayal.

Priscilla Queen Of the Desert brought fresh life to the desert every scene. The costumes were extravagant and the script was witty. The crowd actively loved it, and that it made it easier to love it too. It was the most popular film in Australia and it is back now to a Minneapolis audience who treated it with similar respect. To be completely honest, after the play was over I kind of wanted to see one of these Drag Queen things for real. They would need costumes though, lots of costumes.