Priscilla's success rolls on overseas


The hit Australian musical Priscilla is making a splash on the world stage and is preparing for even bigger things, with a bow on Broadway just around the corner.


The hit Australian musical Priscilla is making a splash on the world stage and is preparing for even bigger things, with a bow on Broadway just around the corner.

Late last month, the show opened in Toronto to great reviews ahead of its New York premiere early next year.

It has been a long, but successful journey for the Aussie-born musical which opened at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney in 2006 and had many doubting it could have a future beyond the Harbour City given it was so Sydney-centric. Truth is, the show was always being developed as a potential international export and thus far, it has proven successful.


With a cast that features Will Swenson as Tick, Nathan Lee Graham as Miss Understanding, Nick Adams as Adam and Australian theatre legend Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, the show is being well received by overseas audiences.

Variety reviewer Richard Ouzounian said: “The jukebox aspect of Priscilla is less annoying than in many other similar entries, because the show knows when not to take it itself too seriously. What initially seems a too-serious rendition of ‘MacArthur Park’ by Sheldon soon turns into a camp showstopper, with members of the chorus dressed as the giant green cake someone left out in the rain, while Swenson gyrates like Peter Allen at his most abandoned.”

Ouzounian added: “There are a few moments that slip into blatant sentimentality; the show could do without some of the ‘dream’ appearances of Tick’s son in act one, especially one involving bubbles. But at present, Priscilla is a visual knockout, a real crowd-pleaser and, ultimately, a great heart-tugger as well.

In The Globe And Mail, J Kelly Nestruck said: “Priscilla tries very hard to create a fun, party atmosphere for its audience. Sometimes it tries too hard – as when confetti is fired out over the audience before the hero(ines) have even left Sydney – but mostly it succeeds in director Simon Phillips’ exuberant production.”

Priscilla tells the story of a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio: Tick, Bernadette and Adam. Travelling across Australia in a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla), the three agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian outback. In a heart-warming, uplifting adventure, these three fish out of water, searching for love and friendship, end up finding more than they could.

The show features a range of classic songs from the disco era.

The musical has been a particularly amazing journey for Sheldon, who has been with it since the Sydney premiere. Rightly, the show has become a watershed in Sheldon’s bright and long career in theatre.

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