Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical Reigns Over Boston

Posted October 3, 2016 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Priscilla's Valdemar Villanueva, Larry Daggett and Alec Varvas.

They say that disco died on July 12, 1979 (see Disco Demolition Night in Chicago), but clearly they were misinformed about its RIP moment. In fact, disco is alive and well and will be taking center stage in Boston’s theater district this fall. Tail feathers dressed to the nines in platform heels and sequins will be shaking like they rarely have before.

From September 30 through October 9, the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre is transformed into a disco dance party complete with drag queens, glitter and glam, as Fiddlehead Theatre Company presents Boston’s premiere of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

In case you missed the original 1994 hit film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert starring Australian stage actor Hugo Weaving, hottie Guy Pearce and dramatic Brit Terence Stamp, crawl out from underneath your disco ball and listen up. The story centers around two drag performers and a transgender woman traveling across the desert in a big giant lavender bus named Priscilla. Their destination is a resort in the remote Australian desert, and their unique cabaret style is drag. Priscilla lets them down by breaking down in the middle of the Outback. Mayhem ensues when this fab trio has to encounter the locals, through some funny (and not-so funny) moments. The musical is adapted from the original movie, so it comes with its own, spins, turns to the left and turns to the right. Sashay! Chante! as RuPaul might say.

This spectacular Boston production stars Broadway’s Larry Daggett (of Ragtime fame) as the group’s poised “mother” figure Bernadette, Andrew Giordano (Sunset Boulevard) as Mitzi “Tick” Mitosis, and Matthew Tiberi (Finding Neverland) as Adam/Felicia. They shake their groove thangs to choreography by Arthur Cuadros and music direction by Jose Simbulan. Taking a page out of the ’70s and ’80s glitzy scene, the show will have 24 dance floor favorites including “It’s Raining Men”,” I Will Survive”, ”Hot Stuff” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” ABBA and The Village People would be proud. It will be hard, but please remain seated.

Now onto the costumes. The film earned an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, so of course the stage performance should follow suit. There will be more than 300 costumes designed by Director/Costumer Stacey Stephens, including 11 three-feet wide headdresses of flowers, bananas, feathers and neon balls; a dress made entirely of 150-plus plastic googly eyes (with matching accessories, of course); a raven-covered dress for a little local nod to Boston-native Edgar Allen Poe; paintbrush dresses; and four human-sized paint-can costumes. And millions of sequins. Natch. All of this is accompanied by glorious makeup design painted on by Broadway veteran Joe Dulude II (an Etsy Design Award Winner for his work on Wicked).

To purchase tickets visit citicenter.org, call (866) 348-9738, or visit the Citi Center Box Office.

The Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre is located at 265 Tremont Street in Boston.