March 18 Priscilla Queen of the Desert Canceled Mid-Show; Perfs. Resume March 19

News   March 18 Priscilla Queen of the Desert Canceled Mid-Show; Perfs. Resume March 19
The March 18 performance of Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical, the new London musical at the Palace Theatre based on the 1994 Australian film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" — was canceled mid-performance due to set malfunctions.
Priscilla stars Oliver Thornton, Tony Sheldon and Jason Donovan
Priscilla stars Oliver Thornton, Tony Sheldon and Jason Donovan Photo by James Morgan

David Gewirtzman, a employee attending the preview performance, said, "The title bus first got stuck around 40 minutes or so in, and they brought the curtain down, made an announcement, and a few minutes later started the next scene. About five minutes after that, they brought the curtain down again, and made another technical difficulties announcement.

"Ten minutes later the director [Simon Phillips] came out to tell us what was going on — apparently the bus is a giant computer, and it wasn't cooperating. Then after another ten minutes, he came out again and said they were giving us a 20-minute intermission, after during which they'd hopefully fix the problem . . . At the end of the 20 minutes, a producer came out — it was 9:15 PM London time at this point — and said that because there's a child in the show, and labor laws don't allow children to work later than 10:30, they wouldn't have time to finish the show, so it was canceled and refund forms were distributed."

A spokesperson for the show said performances will resume March 19, explaining, "We had a problem with our leading lady last night — the bus — but we have every intention of performing tonight."

Priscilla, about a trio of drag queens who take their show to the middle of the outback aboard a battered old bus nicknamed Priscilla, will have a press night on March 23 and a gala opening night on March 24.

The stage work is co-written by Stephan Elliott (who wrote and directed the original film) and Allan Scott, directed by Simon Phillips and features costume designs by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, who won the 1995 Academy Award for Best Costume Design for their work on the film. First brought to the stage in Sydney in October 2006, the show now comes to the London stage with a cast led by Tony Sheldon, who re-creates the role of Ralph/Bernadette (Terence Stamp in the film) that he originated in the original Australian production and has played there for two years in seasons in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland; Australian native Jason Donovan, who has long been resident in the U.K., as Anthony "Tick" Belrose/Mitzi Del Bra (Hugo Weaving in the film); and young British actor Oliver Thornton as Adam Whiteley/Felicia (Guy Pearce in the film).

Also in the London company are Clive Carter, who plays the role of Bob (Bill Hunter in the film), the mechanic who falls in love with Bernadette when they meet in the middle of the outback; Zoe Birkett, Kate Gillespie and Emma Lindars as the three Divas; Wezley Sebastian as Miss Understanding, Amy Field as Marion, Danielle Coombe as Shirley, Tristan Temple as Jimmy, Kanako Nakano as Cynthia, Steven Cleverley as Young Bernadette and John Brannoch as Frank. Completing the cast are Phillip Arran, Matthew Cole, Amy Edwards, Mark Inscoe, Zabrina Norry, Will Peaco, John Phoenix, James Rees, Craig Ryder, Jeremy Secomb and Jon Tsouras.

The musical also features choreography by Ross Coleman; arrangements, musical direction and supervision by Stephen "Spud" Murphy, production designs by Brian Thomson, lighting by Nick Schlieper and sound design by Michael Waters. It is produced in London by Liz Koops and Garry McQuinn for Back Row Productions, Michael Hamlyn for Specific Films, Allan Scott, and the Really Useful Theatre Company.

Plans are also currently afoot for a North American production to open in Toronto in the fall of 2009, when a production will also open in Germany, and a Swedish production to open in 2010.

To book tickets, contact the box office at 0844 755 0016 or visit

Gumbys from <i>Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical</i>
Gumbys from Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical Photo by James Morgan
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