Priscilla Tony Nominee Tony Sheldon Is "Living the Dream"

News   Priscilla Tony Nominee Tony Sheldon Is "Living the Dream"
Tony Sheldon, who plays Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert — drawn from the Academy Award-winning film "The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert" — is making his Broadway debut in a musical that proved to be a worldwide passport for the theatre veteran, taking him outside of his native Australia for the first time.

Tony Sheldon
Tony Sheldon Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

During the musical's London run, Sheldon received an Olivier Award nomination for his performance, and last week, the actor, who had played Bernadette for over 1,100 performances in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Toronto and London before arriving on Broadway, received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. Others in that category include Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can; Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon; Joshua Henry, The Scottsboro Boys; and Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon.

On the morning the nominations were announced, Sheldon told that he was positioned in front of the television as the nominations were read "because my mother's in Australia, and she never would have forgiven me if I hadn't been broadcasting it through to her live. So, I had to be sitting holding the phone up to the television," he laughed.

Sheldon, who received one of the musical's two Tony nominations — the other is for Best Costume Design — said he is "thrilled to be an ambassador for the show in any way. It's been an incredible journey of five years. Joining what was a ten-day workshop, suddenly here I am on Broadway with a Tony nomination. It's the stuff of dreams."

"I come from a show-business family," he added. "We're all in the theatre, and this is what we've all aspired to since I was a baby... I'm living the dream. I will never ever forget this experience for as long as I live."

When asked what was the biggest challenge of playing a drag queen who joins two friends aboard a battered old bus in the middle of the Australian outback, Sheldon answered, "Well, all of it! I mean, playing a woman to start with. But, it's the whole thing. Putting together a musical in Australia is not something that's easily done, and to actually take it around the world and put it on a world stage, there's just been so much work involved for everybody just trying to get it right, so every step of the way has been a challenge." And, what will Sheldon, who dons numerous, extravagant costumes in Priscilla, be wearing to the Tony Awards June 12? "Oh, I can't think that far," he laughed. "I don't know what I am going to be wearing today to Whole Foods."

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Tony Sheldon
Tony Sheldon Photo by Joan Marcus
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