Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Sentimental drag…who’dda thunk…
Warning: This review may be unapologetically hyperbolic and overly sappy. But I can assure you, Celebration Theatre‘s Los Angeles theater premiere of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a ride you’re gonna wanna take!
Jessica Hanna directs an unabashedly hilarious and seriously sentimental glam-musical, with nostalgically chic choreography by Roman Pantoja, and light-tripping musical direction by Jennifer Lin, that had the audience at precision levels of teary-eyed-ness, fab, funk, spaz, boogie, (I was singing all the tunes in the back row- YES IT WAS ME!) and up for a thunderous standing ovation even before the actors could go off stage to come back out for a final bow.
It was a bedazzling, uptempo, blast!
Based on the Oscar-winning hit film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the musical features 70’s classics like, It’s Raining Men (The Weather Girls), I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), and I Love The Nightlife (Alicia Bridges). Set in Australia, Priscilla follows three drag queens, Tic (Mario Burrell), Bernadette (Tad Coughenour) and Adam/Felicia (Lyle Colby Mackston) on a rather dangerous outback bus drive that Tic has pitched as a comeback tour but is really a secret quest to meet the son he’s never seen.
If you were even considering this less-camp-more-relationship production, you’ll have to wait until the extension. PQD, as of opening night, is completely sold out for the entire run.
However, they will be extending, and mostly likely twice. Yay for you if you don’t have your ticket yet. But hurry!
This beyond lip sync production really showcases the range of emotional and physical abilities of the entire main cast and gives the entire ensemble room for plenty of its own amusing ostentatiousness. Above all, the story, the relationships are so beautifully front and center of the performance, the depth of the content is as deeply moving as it is colorful – in every way.
No stomach punches or surprises. No awkward moments. No glitches. There is a definitive symmetry that keeps the show completely smooth throughout with sing and dance-alongs that anyone growing up in the Shake Your Groove Thing generation will recognize and love.
Book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, based on the Latent Image/Specific Films Motion Picture Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., presented in special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
Directed by Jessica Hanna
Produced by Stephen Soucy and Jay Marcus
Lighting design by Brandon Baruch
Costume design by Allison Dillard
Hair and Makeup design by Byron J. Batista
Sound Design by Rebecca Kessin
Properties Design by Michael O’Hara
Karen Osbourne is the Production Manager
Featuring: Tad Coughenour, Mario Burrell, Lyle Colby Mackston, Markesha Chatfield, Katie Self, Andrea Somera,Gina Torrecilla, George Chavez, Jack Brody and Nick Brody (sharing the role of Benji) along with ensemble cast members John Paul Batista, Jamie Pierce, and Marquell Clayton. Understudies are Dekontee Tucrkile, Miki Holmes and Cameron Jamarr Davis.
Photo (above) by Matthew Brian Denman: Tad Coughenour, Lyle Colby Mackston and Mario Burrell star in the Celebration production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Celebration Theatre.
Copyright © 2018 Gia On The Move. All Rights Reserved.
Written exclusively for Gia On The Move. No part of this Gia On The Move publication, writing, video, or audio may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Copyright infringement is a crime. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Gia On The Move Permissions Coordinator”. For more information please review our reprints and permissions page.
2 responses to “Celebration Theatre’s, ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ Is A Ride You’re Gonna Wanna Take!”
[…] Theatre for the Performing Arts (South Pacific, Ain’t Misbehavin’); Celebration Theatre (Priscilla Queen of the Desert); and The Echo Theater Company (Cry it Out). A Noise Within received the Best Season Award (A […]
[…] Dillard, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration […]