"A cock, in a frock, on a rock." – Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

So it has been FAR too long since this blog has been in action.  A year almost to the DAY.  No excuses!  We’ve seen some small productions but not too much of note lately, but I felt bad I hadn’t even written about the smaller ones.  But no more!  We’re back on the wagon!

 Sometimes you have shows that completely surprise you at how much you enjoy them.  In the past, shows that have done this for me have been Fela! and American Idiot.  Last night was another one of those shows.  

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was a movie (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) I had only seen once, but my wife adored   Without her, I probably wouldn’t even know this movie.  I kept track of the musical when it came and went in 2011 on Broadway, although I noted and clapped for their Tony win in costume design, because WOW.  I considered seeing it when we were in NYC, but it just didn’t thrill me enough to go.  

The view from the front row

So I had been tossing around the idea with my wife for the past couple of months about going, and I honestly don’t think unless I had gotten a TravelZoo email about it, would I have made the trek downtown to a box office to buy tickets.  So I’m thankful something got us into gear.  And we scored on the tickets too.  Usually with these deals, you get tickets around $27 (add on the fees about $50) and *usually* they’re in the balcony section or at best rear orchestra.  Well, I’m not sure if someone at TravelZoo screwed up or what, but I landed front row tickets for the discounted price!  

Front row was a great place to be for sight, not so much for sound.  For one, the “people” in front of you is the orchestra which can drown out the vocals sitting that close, and then the speakers projecting the performers mike’s above your head and not point towards you.  But in this show, much like Hair, you know the songs, and the plot line is campy and not imperative to pay attention to.  We were however right in front of the confetti cannon.  You heard me:  CONFETTI CANNON.  

All-in-all Priscilla is a mesmerizing visual show.  The costume details were just phenomenal.  During the funeral scene at the beginning of the show, I have no idea what was going on with recently departed Trumpet, and instead was marveling at the different religions being shown through outfits, hats and umbrellas.  The Divas who came down from the rafters several times during the show were the strongest voices, in my (unprofessional) opinion.  I didn’t care much for the vocals of Tick, Bernadette or Felecia, but then again, it’s campy and about drag queens, so I’m ultimately not caring about this.  The drag queens I watch in Chicago’s Boystown never sing period.  And who can forget the classic scene of Felicia on the high heel of the bus ‘belting’ “Sempre libera” from La traviata?  Perfection.

The ladies werking the lobby of the theater

The crowd was phenomenal!  It was the oddest split of gay men and the elderly – the latter being just there on their season ticket night we assumed, and wondering what is going on on stage.  When we arrived in the lobby, there was a group of drag queens posing for pictures with everyone.  Right before the show started, they came in, took off their wigs and sat down to raucous applause.  I assumed they were part of the Priscilla experience  but no, they were actually there to watch the show!  

In the end, this show made me laugh for over two hours – which was much needed as I had been sick and barely out of the house for the past two weeks.  As an artist the costumes just took my breath away, the LED lights “painting” the bus pink were a great touch, and the music along with the high energy of the performers made this show a delight.  I’m happy we ended up seeing this in the end, and would recommend it to anyone.  This touring show definitely shows some “hot stuff” on stage.