PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT at Roxy’s Downtown

Boy, this show really takes me back to my youth, dancing the night away in clubs and working as a dancer at local drag shows!

With a book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, and a series of ’70s dance floor anthems, including It’s raining Men, I will Survive, Hot thing, Boogie Wonderland, Girls Just Wanna Have Funand i love nightlife, it’s hard not to stay put. You’ll want to sing and dance along!

Based on the iconic 1994 film of the same name, Priscilla Queen of the Desert follows two drag queens (Tick and Adam) and a transsexual (Bernadette) who buy a run-down old bus they name Priscilla, and set out on a trip through the Australian Outback because Tick’s ex-wife invited him to perform for her drag show. . at your resort on the other side of the continent. Tick ​​hesitates to tell Bernadette, a former performance icon whose best days are behind him, and Adam, an unruly young troublemaker, his personal reasons for making the trip. Their journey is marked by colorful hijinx and the sobering reality of the violence that Trans, Drag and openly gay suffer daily.

Director Rick Bumgardner keeps the action moving and doesn’t let the dramatic moments succumb to the hilarious, often-arched encampment the actors dole out. Choreographer Courtney Wages carries the moving artists of Fosse and Paris is Burning for some sexy, ever-changing shots. Paul Graves’ musical direction was great, the ensemble came together well and the band was tight. J Branson’s scenic design is cute and over-the-top, from giant backstage makeup mirrors to a quick transition to Priscilla (the bus) and other locations. The ensemble is loaded with festive beach colors that are upbeat and fun, and remind us that even when there is despair, there is also hope.

Chadwick Armstrong’s costumes are beautiful, colorful and plentiful. Highlights include the iconic silver cape that swings in the breeze, crafted by an unknown individual backstage as Felicia rides atop Priscilla (the bus), the slipper dress, the pool noodle wigs, the colorful jumpsuit worn by the choir while removes Priscilla’s hateful graffiti and of course the ostrich costumes at the end!

Brad Thomison is as natural and welcoming as Miss Understanding; he opened the show in a fabulous Rainbow outfit, and closed the show with a jaw-dropping ample bust. Denver Frankhouser’s turn as Felcia was pretty cool, and her Drag was convincing. Sarah Wine was adorable as Tick’s ex-wife, and her drunk Aussie gave me a good laugh. Chayston Simmons has a great voice and played Tick with genuine sensitivity. Patty Yoon plays Cynthia, Bob’s mail-order bride/Thai ping pong ball artist who he leaves to join Bernadette. I’m still trying to decide if the scene/character was PC or not as it took me a minute to figure it out. I’ve always heard about the stories about the ping pong balls, but I never knew if they were true or an urban legend.

Sophia Hillman has plenty of scene-stealing moments as Diva #1, and her Greek Chorus, Khyah Van Es as Diva #3, and Elaine Watson as Diva #2, engaged audiences and lured them in with those ’70s dance hits of sensational shape. His mix was great thanks to Paul Graves’ excellent musical direction.

Tom Frye’s Bob the Mechanic is so subtle and sweet, and not Tom’s usual caricature, but a poignant portrait of a man who is trapped in a difficult marriage and finds his salvation when he meets his decades-old crush – Bernadette ( Shaun -Michael Morse) and falls in love. Shaun-Michael’s Bernadette perpetually becomes philosophical and carries a world-weary acceptance of everything her trans life entails. She reminds us to “never forget the cost of choices” and “the city is the safest place for us”. It’s so satisfying to finally see her in a relationship where she can relax. Shaun-Michael does a beautiful job here and portrays Bernadette with a tough sensibility that often underlies the beautiful fantasies offered by the Drag life.

Finally, a special thanks to Keaton Mohr, who plays Benji, the Tick’s son. Keaton is a triple threat; he has a strong voice, a natural acting style and is a wonderful dancer. Hope we see more of him.

Coming next door to Roxy’s Downtown Stage? heather, which will take place from the 6th to the 23rd of July.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert runs until May 22. You can still catch the show this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, with a special “It’s a Drag it’s Sunday” brunch before the 2pm show on Sunday. Tickets for all shows are $30, which can be reserved by calling (316) 265-4400. Roxy’s Downtown is located at 412 1/2 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, KS 67202 Email: admin@roxysdowntown.com

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: