PRISCILLA cast announced at The Star Casino Gold Coast

A transgender actor will play the lead role in the famed musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert – coming to the Gold Coast – in what is a world-first for a theatre production. Until now cisgender male actors have adopted the trans character of Bernadette Bassanger.

Adelaide’s Yvonne Britain, known by her performer stage name Vonni, will play Priscilla’s lead character Bernadette Bassinger when it hits The Star Gold Coast, on July 16th, 2022.

Vonni will join Australia’s most famed transgender enteratiner  Carlotta (AM) – from Sydney’s Les Girls troupe fame – who is also in the cast as well as original Fijian-born Australian Idol finalist and Platinum recording artist Paulini Curuenavuli.

The representative casting emerged from an extensive nationwide talent search aimed at securing the best performers for the roles and celebrating diversity.

Matt Ward Entertainment director, Matt Ward, who is putting on the production after a successful season of Mamma Mia! last year:

We chose Vonni, not because she was transgender but because she was the best performer for the role. It’s an honour to share the story of Bernadette and it’s important to our team to make casting choices that elevate the humanity of her story.

In casting Vonni and Carlotta, Mr. Ward said more trans characters were being written into blockbuster films, including Dallas Buyers Club and The Danish Girl but trans actors were overlooked for these roles and are still underrepresented in Hollywood “let alone in the theatre.

This is a movement about visibility that should be encouraged. We encourage other productions to embrace transgender talent – to give them auditions – and give them their story.

He expressed his excitement to have Australia’s best-known transgender individual make her musical debut on Priscilla with the casting of entertainment legend, Carlotta (AM):

Carlotta is an icon, with a wealth of knowledge to share with our cast and crew. No one has approached her to be in a musical prior and I am so proud to be her first. We’re so grateful she said yes.

Vonni is also making her musical debut. She recalls the emotional moment over dinner with the producers and director when she found out she had the lead role:

They bought French champagne. So I’m thinking wow, I think I’ve got it. I think I’ve got it. But I didn’t dare think – I didn’t want to count my chickens. And then Matt Ward just said, well, Yvonne I’d like to thank you for coming from Adelaide and you’ve got the part and I was ugly crying. So it’s very good.

I was part of Les Girls and Bernadette’s character is a retired Les Girls performer. I’ve toured around Australia, I’ve toured in a bus. I’ve worked at Lasseters Alice Springs, this casino is where they end up. I’ve climbed Ayres Rock. I’ve lived the life of the person that I’m portraying.

I am absolutely honored and thrilled – absolutely beside myself to say that I will be playing Bernadette. Bernadette Bassanger’s character was based on Carlotta. Carlotta is a very good friend of mine, we actually lived together for quite a few years in the 80s. I worked with her in the King’s Cross Les Girls. We’re going to be working with each other again – this time on Priscilla. The scenes we share are going to be tremendous fun.

Australian pop artist and musical theatre star, Paulini has been cast as the lead ‘Diva’ in MWE’s Priscilla production. Paulini rose to fame on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, before joining forces with other finalists to form the girl group ‘The Young Divas’. She has also appeared on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and starred in hit musicals such as The Bodyguard Musical, Saturday Night Fever, Hair and most recently Chess the Musical.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert runs from, THE STAR GOLD COAST.

Season Details

Venue: The Star Gold Coast
Date: 16 July – 7 Aug 2022

2 thoughts on “PRISCILLA cast announced at The Star Casino Gold Coast

  • Looking forward to seeing this

  • Brilliant performance and fabulous costumes, so wonderful to see the cast enjoying themselves -Bravo, bravo, bravo


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