Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Today was the one-year anniversary of our big family wedding aka “The Musical” – nearly the entire ceremony was an excuse for a song from the wedding party singing and danced down the aisle to the bride’s band gigging at the reception.  So it was fitting that for our paper anniversary we had tickets to “Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical” at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.  It was closing night and the theater was sold out.  If there was a way to make Priscilla Queen of the Desert more fabulous, it was to make it a touring musical.  The story closely follows that of the 1994 movie.  While it is hard to capture the heat and oppression of rural Australia on a small stage with brief banter and insults, the overwhelming enthusiasm of the cast makes for an amazing show that had everyone cheering and clapping.  We first are introduced to the three fabulous drag queens in Sydney, but also three amazing backup singers who descend from the sky like angels of soul.  This gives a new opportunity for live lip-snyc between drag queen and soul singer (“Shake Your Groove Thing”).  From the first outfit with built-in puppets to the final gowns that morphed into  the Sydney Opera House, the show’s costumes are amazing with every color, feather, tail, umbrella, and shoe imaginable.  Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner won an Oscar for their work on the film, and outdo themselves for the stage version. Of course the other star of the show is Priscilla herself.  Not to be outshined, the bus is self-luminous with thousands of LEDS covering every inch.  Like the roof at Fremont Street, it can create countless animations, rainbows, and lots and lots of pink.  This musical is a heart-warming visual feast.  I just hope their real tour bus heading to their next destination is as bright and pink as Priscilla.

Outside the Pantages

Priscilla and me at the Pantages


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