by Anita Moyt | image courtesy of Playhouse on the Square
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert drives across the stage at Playhouse on the Square, 66 S. Cooper, June 16 to July 9. The cult-classic, award-winning movie from 1994 was reinvented as a musical in 2007. But it is more than a cult classic; it is a moment in GLBT history.
“It was a movie near and dear to my heart,” Dave Landis, the show’s director, told Focus Mid-South. “There were not a lot of gay-oriented themed movies…this film gave us hope and triumph of being who you are; we hadn’t had a lot of films like that. That’s why I have always loved this story.”
Landis went on to explain the crossover of Priscilla to a musical.
“There are some variances to the movie,” Landis said. “The story is the same. It is considered a jukebox musical: ‘It’s Raining Men,’ ‘I Will Survive’ and others. These are gay anthems. I personally fell in love with the music…just like a gay bar in the ‘80s.”
As Tick (Daniel Gonzalez), Bernadette (David Foster ), and Adam (Bruce Huffman) drive across the Australian outback in a battered but nevertheless fabulous bus dubbed Priscilla, they expose their world and ours to the reality of gay men, transgendered women and the world of drag performers. With a musical lineup of gay- and time-honored classics including “It’s Raining Men, “Material Girl,” “I Will Survive,” and ”Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Priscilla delivers a storyline that shows the complexities of each of their lives. It is way more than just a drag show.
Ironically, Priscilla opened many doors for a segment of society constrained to stay on the bus. “(Priscilla) is a celebration of who we are and we are all human beings, if that is not too sappy a thing to say,” Landis added. Gonzalez, who takes the role of Tick, agreed.
“I knew I wanted to be in this production of love and acceptance,” Gonzalez said. “I want people to get from this show that in the world toda, a family can come from any circumstance. And I want our audience to realize we are people, normal people, who happen to live in this wonderful world where they can be themselves.”
Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 opening weekend (June 16-18) and otherwise range from $15 to $45. The Pay-What-You-Can performance is Thursday, June 22 at 8 p.m.
For more information or to make reservations, call 901-726-4656, or purchase tickets online at playhouseonthesquare.org. Please note that Priscilla includes adult situations and adult language.