Road Trip to the Woodlawn Theatre This Weekend for a Jukebox Musical Starring Aussie Drag Queens

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click to enlarge Road Trip to the Woodlawn Theatre This Weekend for a Jukebox Musical Starring Aussie Drag Queens
Courtesy of the Woodlawn Theatre
Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar isn't the only drag queen road trip movie to come out of the '90s.

A year before Too Wong Foo came out, the Aussies beat the Americans to the punch with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which stars a pre-Matrix Hugo Weaving and pre-Memento Guy Pearce as two drag queens who are joined on a road trip through the outback by transgender woman Bernadette, who's played by General Zod himself, Terrence Stamp. The flamboyant trio is borne across the Australian backcountry by their faithful – if dilapidated – tour bus Priscilla, which gives the movie its name.

If this doesn't sound like a perfect story to be turned into a jukebox musical, then I don't know what to tell you, because in 2007 writer and director Stephan Elliott adapted his movie for the stage with the shortened title Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Scored with requisite pop hits from "It's Raining Men" to "Like a Virgin," the original Australian show soon spawned productions worldwide, and the Broadway version nabbed the 2011 Tony Award for Best Costume Design.

The Woodlawn Theatre's production doesn't have a Broadway budget, but they've pulled out all the stops to clothe their stars in costumes worthy of royalty, carefully mimicking Mitzi and Felicia's emblematic lewks – from a sky-high blue and green wig to a '60s mod shift made out of flip flops (or "thongs," to use the Oz vernacular).

And just because its about drag queens doesn't mean that this show will be lip-synced – stars Jesse Beere (Felicia/Adam), John Berring (Mitzi/Tick) and Ronald Watson (Bernadette) will belt their hearts out, backed by a live orchestra seated in the Woodlawn's balcony.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert opens at the Woodlawn on Friday, October 11 and will run through November 3.

$18-$30, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, Woodlawn Theatre, 1920 Fredericksburg Rd., (210) 267-8388, woodlawntheatre.org.

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