Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical on Broadway Reviews

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical Broadway Reviews Average Critics Rating:

6.85 out of 10
Average Users Rating:

8.95 out of 10
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Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Score: 9
From: Backstage By: David Sheward Publication Date: 03/20/2011

In the second act of the musical version of "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," the 1994 cult film comedy about a trio of drag queens crossing the Australian outback in the titular vehicle, a chorus of singers, called Divas, descends from the flies and erupts into Cyndi Lauper's anthem of carefree abandon "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." As the song says, that's all they really want—and so do the creative team and cast. They just wanna tell a simple story, give us a few laughs, work in a little message about tolerance, and dazzle us with spectacular outfits. The show succeeds brilliantly on its own terms and will probably be keeping a lot of chorus boys in sequins and feather boas for many a season.

We three queens: Divas of 'Priscilla' take a Broadway road trip - Score: 9
From: Chicago Tribune By: Chris Jones Publication Date: 03/20/2011

But "Priscilla" has a pulsing theatrical heart and soul, not least because its characters are inveterate creatures of the stage. As directed by Simon Phillips, who has been on this bus for years, the tone is warm and inclusive. "Priscilla" has a rich dynasty of queens, unfazed by any desert and very much at home on Broadway.

Entropy, Algorithms, and Laughs: 'Arcadia' and 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical' - Score: 9
From: New York Observer By: Jesse Oxfeld Publication Date: 03/22/2011

What's playing at the Palace is a high-volume, high-energy, never-let-up disco-drag spectacular with a pulsing soundtrack full of Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Madonna. Its (not particularly complex) source material has been dumbed down into a simple jukebox musical—and it's perhaps the best jukebox musical I've seen.

Priscilla' gives a cheerful ride on stage - Score: 9
From: Newsday By: Linda Winer Publication Date: 03/20/2011

The feel-good story is loaded (OK, a little overloaded) with good cheer, as is the cast -- including an altogether endearing Will Swenson as the sensitive Tick and a hard-hitting (at times, too hard-hitting) Nick Adams as the over-the-top young Adam, aka Felicia.

A gaudy, glitzy bus named Priscilla rolls into NY - Score: 8
From: Associated Press By: Jocelyn Noveck Publication Date: 03/20/2011

It seems odd, too, when Bernadette offers her mechanic friend a cake as they sit outside the bus. Why do they have a cake? Is it someone's birthday? It's all left hanging until we realize ... The cake is LEFT OUT IN THE RAIN. Cue "MacArthur Park." The crowd loves it. At such moments of go-for-broke zaniness, quibbles seem beside the point.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Score: 8
From: Entertainment Weekly By: Thom Geier Publication Date: 03/22/2011

The nylon-thin plot is mostly an excuse to set up the classic tunes on the soundtrack. As fans of Glee know by now, there's a certain pleasure in the truly unlikely segue. It's natural for Tick to begin 'Say a Little Prayer' seated at the mirror: 'The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup...' But you can imagine the narrative lengths to which the creators must go to introduce Jimmy Webb's 'MacArthur Park,' which memorably begins: 'Someone left the cake out in the rain.' Needless to say, the show is campier than a tentful of Boy Scouts (working on their choreography merit badge). And there's a dance-party atmosphere that helps compensate for the show's plot implausibilities and clunkier moments. Among the three leads, Adams seems the most solid and comfortably over the top as a bratty young provocateur. Sheldon is not the strongest singer, but brings some touching pathos to his role as the aging diva. The weakest element is Swenson, who seems a bit ill at ease as Tick/Mitzi (and the actor's shaky accent often seems closer to Eton than Australia).

‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ musical dishes out relentless entertainment - Score: 8
From: New Jersey Newsroom By: Michael Sommers Publication Date: 03/20/2011

A wildly flashy musical version of a 1994 cult film, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” sashayed into the Palace on Sunday, all fun, fantastic frocks and fabulousness – but not really all that much heart.

'Priscilla' a thrilla that makes it fun to be a drag - Score: 8
From: New York Post By: Elisabeth Vincentelli Publication Date: 03/20/2011

So confident is “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” in its ability to ramp up the thrills that it doesn’t wait for the finale to drop the confetti — it falls a mere 30 minutes in shamelessly feel-good show won't do to entertain, from bringing theatergoers onstage to dance to lowering its singing divas from the rafters. It may look a bit ramshackle at times, but "Priscilla" has a big, joyous heart.

"Priscilla Queen Of The Desert" - Score: 8
From: NY1 By: Roma Torre Publication Date: 03/22/2011

When you get right down to it, "Priscilla" is a gay variation of those old road/buddy flicks. But I somehow doubt Bob Hope and Bing Crosby ever had this much fun.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Score: 8
From: The Hollywood Reporter By: David Rooney Publication Date: 03/20/2011

What "Mamma Mia!" did for Abba, director Simon Phillips' stage adaptation of the 1994 Australian road movie does for a foot-tapping mega-mix that lifts primarily from '70s disco and '80s pop. There's A LOT going on. While much of it is gaudy, fabulous and funny, it's not until act two that the aggressively high-energy musical calms down enough to allow emotional investment in its characters. This comes largely via the anchoring presence of Sheldon's divine Bernadette. She's soft and vulnerable one minute, maternal the next, yet always ready to dispense an acerbic put-down. Elegant and dignified, the Australian actor could pass for Cate Blanchett's mother. Sheldon has been with the show since its earliest Sydney incarnation in 2006, which accounts for the deeply etched back-story he brings to the role.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Score: 8
From: Variety By: Steven Suskin Publication Date: 03/20/2011

Priscilla, a tricked-up tour bus with a shoe on the roof, rolls onto the stage of the Palace Theater to roars from the audience, and proceeds to turn, twist and light up pink and purple. And then does it again (and again and again). So goes the brashly good-natured Aussie musical to which the bus lends its name, "Priscilla Queen of the Desert," which, born from Stephan Elliott's 1994 film, seems destined to follow the path of "Mamma Mia!" Inartful here, crass there, this rollicking crowdpleaser in sequins nonetheless packs enough heart to leave the masses enthralled.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert's Glitz Blitz - Score: 8
From: Village Voice By: Michael Feingold Publication Date: 03/23/2011

And Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Palace Theatre) does indeed entertain, though the result may make you, like me, feel that there is such a thing as too much entertainment. Priscilla’s producers, eager to please, have pulled out all the stops in the glitz department: No gown goes unglittered, while the titular bus, covered with tiny computerized beads, changes color so many times that you wonder why they bothered to include a scene in which the characters supposedly paint it.

In Priscilla, the Glitter's the Thing - Score: 7
From: New York Magazine By: Scott Brown Publication Date: 03/20/2011

A lip sync of a lip sync of a lip sync, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical arrives on Broadway in a flurry of pink feathers, delivering more or less exactly what you’d expect of a jukebox musical about three drag queens' braving the spangle-resistant Australian outback in a beat-up tour bus. (The show is based on the similarly titled 1994 feel-good movie starring Terence Stamp.) We’re treated, in other words, to a high-speed Automat of toweringly tasteless costumes, camp levels so dangerously high you’ll be finding stray sequins in the dryer for years to come, and a set list — sorry, a score — stuffed to its glittery gills with karaoke yester-hits: There are so many showstoppers, in fact, that I occasionally wondered when it was actually going to start. (Can anyone in the Western world survive another "I Will Survive"? The Act One finale suggests that we can, and must.)

You Will Survive ‘Priscilla’ and Shake Your Booty, Too - Score: 6
From: Bloomberg News By: Jeremy Gerard Publication Date: 03/20/2011

So what if Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott's crude book, based on Elliott's film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," panders to a crowd that doesn't need winning over? The first act works too hard and Will Swenson's voice seems to be on the verge of going on strike. Nevertheless, he's pretty winning as Tick; so is Nick Adams as Felicia. A cut above, for bringing tremendous heart to a predictable role, is Tony Sheldon as the touching Bernadette. Hats off too to C. David Johnson as lovable Bob, the man of Bernadette's dreams. Bring your dancing shoes.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical - Score: 6
From: ScheckOnTheater By: Frank Scheck Publication Date: 03/22/2011

There have been reports about Priscilla Queen of the Desert having been made more family-friendly for Broadway. But it’s hard to imagine that this musical, arriving here after successful runs in Australia and London, could have been any bawdier. For all its undeniably entertaining aspects, the overall experience is akin to spending two-and-a-half hours watching floats in the Gay Pride Parade pass by.

With Song in Heart, Pompoms on Head - Score: 5
From: New York Times By: Charles Isherwood Publication Date: 03/20/2011

The most rewarding role belongs to Mr. Sheldon, who brings an authentic note of dignified grace to his performance as Bernadette. His mothering of both the troubled Tick and the potentially self-destructive Felicia feels honest, and Mr. Sheldon has a way of inflecting the book's litter of catty zingers with refined nuances that make them feel smarter and fresher than they probably are. But any flickers of warmth and true human feeling in "Priscilla" are either obscured by another onslaught of gyrating dancers or squashed flat by a giant platform heel. After a while even the festive parade of outlandish costumes, among the show's more reliably entertaining diversions, begin to feel stale and overworked. At the extended curtain call - aptly set to the catchy '90s dance floor anthem entitled "Finally" - you are likely to feel slightly dazed and stultified, as if you'd been conked on the head with a disco ball.

'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' - Score: 4
From: am New York By: Matt Windman Publication Date: 03/20/2011

"Priscilla Queen of the Desert" is not so much a normal musical but rather a loud, oversized karaoke party and midnight drag show. You really want to have fun, but it is so aggressively campy that it soon becomes irritating and too much to stomach.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Score: 3
From: New York Daily News By: Joe Dziemianowicz Publication Date: 03/21/2011

Throughout "Priscilla," the three leads don't look male or female but like bizarre aliens. Call me a party pooper, but that was enough to make this supposed frolic a drag.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Score: 3
From: Time Out New York By: Adam Feldman Publication Date: 03/21/2011

Priscilla Queen of the Desert has all the shimmer and all the substance of a mirage. First things first: The costumes are sensational. Designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner won an Oscar for the 1994 Australian film on which this show is based, and will surely win a Tony for their work here as well. But when the costumes come first in a musical, that’s a bad sign—especially when nothing comes second.

Choking on Sequins - Score: 3
From: Wall Street Journal By: Terry Teachout Publication Date: 03/22/2011

Not only is "Priscilla" a sequin-encrusted dragfest without a heart, but it's one of the biggest missed opportunities in the recent history of Broadway, a pointless musical version of a sweet little movie out of which something smart—and, yes, touching—might easily have been made. Instead we get human cupcakes.


   
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