By: Paulanne Simmons
Priscilla Queen of the Desert began as a 1994 Australian film about two drag queens, Tick and Adam, and a transgender woman, Bernadette, who cross the Australian Outback in a tour bus named Priscilla. Their ultimate goal is to reunite Tick with his son, Benjamin.
The film, known as The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, was so successful it was eventually turned into a musical that landed on Broadway in 2011 with its score of well-known pop songs.
Now, thanks to Piper Theatre Productions, the show has arrived in Brooklyn, complete with the famous bus and a cast of talented troupers who enthusiastically dance, sing and strut their stuff in Park Slope’s historic Old Stone House & Washington Park, the site of the first major battle after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Even better, the show is free and open to the public. So you can bring a chair or blanket, or rent a chair; bring a picnic basket or buy a snack and enjoy the show along with the out-of-doors.
This production, directed by John McEneny, features a large cast of over a dozen performers singing such dance floor favorites as “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Love the Nightlife.” Xalvandor Tin-Bradbury plays a heart-warming Tick, Brandon Looney is the flamboyant Adam, and Joe Joyce portrays the audacious Bernadette. They are all dressed in Madeline Wall’s over-the-top costumes.
Although most of the show is upbeat and funny, it does have its serious moments. The bus is defaced by vicious townspeople. Adam gets himself, and Tick and Bernadette in trouble when he dresses up like a woman in an attempt to pick up men at a bar. Tick worries about his son’s reaction to having a father who performs in drag.
But in this show, family is loving, friends are supportive (if sometimes combative), and acquaintances are (mostly) accepting. If only the real world were the same.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is at Old Stone House & Washington Park, 4th Avenue & 3rd Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, Thursdays – Saturdays through July 22, 2017