For someone whose not-so-guilty pleasure is RuPaul’s Drag Race, let’s just say I was more than thrilled to get the chance to see a preview performance of Priscilla Queen of the Desert last week. As soon as the lights at the Palace Theatre went down and The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men” came on, I knew I was in for one of the most fantastically gay nights of my life. Everyone, from Derek Blasberg to Joan Rivers to Andy Cohen, was in attendance for opening night yesterday, and I think Mr. Blasberg put it best when he tweeted, “Bravo! Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, officially opened just now on Broadway, is the campest, most fabulous, fantastic, GAYEST PLAY EVER!”
In case you didn’t know, Priscilla is based on John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze‘s 1995 blockbuster, Too Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar. In the play, a trio of drag queens in search of love, family and friendship take a road trip across the Australian Outback in Priscilla… their big, pink RV! And of course, they learn some heartwarming life lessons along the way, all while dancing and singing in 7 inch tranny heels to musical numbers like “Shake Your Groove Thing and I Will Survive.” Until I started writing this little recap, I didn’t realize just how absurd the whole thing sounded.
But if you think the plot line sounds out there, it has nothing on the makeup and costumes. I’m talking some of the brightest neons and highest wigs I’ve ever seen and thanks to Swarovski, there was no shortage of bling up on that stage. I mean… I wouldn’t have expected anything less from a Broadway musical based around fun-loving drag queens and produced by Bette Midler.
All in all, even though Priscilla Queen of the Desert may have been a little too much “fun” for me on a Wednesday night, I actually found it to be quite moving. In between all of the singing and dancing, I actually took away a couple of important life lessons. In particular, after Priscilla gets vandalized with gay slurs, Bernadette (the oldest and wisest of the trio) gives the other two some advice we can all take away from: Never forget the cost of our own choices.