The Glitzy Glamour of 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'

The Tony-winning costumes steal the show in Broadway's biggest drag queen musical.

By Genie Leslie November 6, 2013

Subtlety, thy name is not Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

What do flip-flops, paintbrushes, the Sydney Opera House, and cupcakes have in common? They all inspired at least one of the 500 costumes in the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The Broadway tour of lighthearted escape into a glittering world of performance and pizzazz makes its final stop at the Paramount Theater from November 12–17.

Part musical, part drag show, and all over-the-top, Priscilla is a two-and-a-half hour spectacle that follows two drag queens and a transsexual as they travel across the Australian desert on a journey of love, loss, and acceptance. Tick (also known as Mitzi) must come to terms with his past, Adam (aka Felicia) purely seeks adventure, while the transsexual Bernadette grieves the loss of her husband.

A collection of drag-show staples provides the jukebox musical soundtrack to their road trip across the wilderness in a brightly painted bus named Priscilla. “It’s Raining Men”? Check. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? Of course. “I Will Survive”? Naturally.

And it wouldn’t be a drag show musical without larger-than-life costumes. Don’t worry if your tickets are in the back of the Paramount's balcony—you could sit on the roof and still make out the sequins, platform shoes, and feathered headpieces. Designed by Tony and Academy Award winners Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner (earning the awards for the musical and the original 1994 film version of Priscilla), the costumes fill two of the tour production’s trucks and steal the show on a nightly basis.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Nov 12–17, Paramount Theater, $25–$85

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