Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Tempe's Gammage -- Can We Just Say "Wow"?
The setup: The traditional info about source material or theater history will not do justice to the extravagant stage musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. So, to build the necessary foundation, here's some trivia not included in the press packet:
© Joan Marcus Wade McCollum, Scott Willis, and Bryan West walk into a bar -- in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
- It's allegedly just one of those show-biz coincidences that the films The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, both of which follow three drag queens (or two drag queens and a singing, dancing transsexual) cross-country in a vehicle that breaks down where small-town locals threaten their personal safety, were in production at the same time.
- The dance costume in the stage Priscilla's finale that looks like a pink air filter for a motor vehicle under the Tin Man's hat represents the flower of the eucalyptus tree and the fruit or "gumnut" that develops from it -- just a wee part of a delightfully over-the-top salute to the homeland of an extremely 'stralian show.
- If you realize that costume co-designer Lizzy Gardiner is the one who made the Amex Gold Card dress to wear to the 1995 Academy Awards, you've identified the most wonderful thing about this musical. And the oh-em-gee outfits are sufficiently wonderful for anyone, but they're not the only high point.