BWW Review: PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT at Downtown Cabaret Theatre

BWW Review: PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT at Downtown Cabaret Theatre

On Friday, May 4, 2018, I saw the concluding show of what has been an amazing 2017/2018 season at the Downtown Cabaret Main Stage Theatre. PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT is based on a movie from 1994. The book is by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, with music from a variety of sources, primarily disco, making this the first disco centered jukebox musical that I have ever seen. The show is directed by Christy McIntosh-Newsom, with Eli Newsom as the musical director behind a talented band.

The storyline centers on three men in drag (Tick, Bernadette, and Adam) one of whom had previously gotten surgery(Bernadette), who go to the Australian outback to perform a live singing and dancing show. They tour on a bus that is named Priscilla, and encounter adventure and conflict along the way. A kangaroo, a koala, and a purple Teletubby become road kill, after getting in Priscilla's way, essentially becoming the Australian equivalent of the dead raccoons, skunks, and squirrels that we see squashed on American roads.

Actor Lance Anthony, who has consistently entertained us in the Downtown Cabaret Children's Theatre, makes his final main stage performance with Downtown Cabaret Theatre, in the role of Bernadette, before he plans to move to Indiana. He can also presently be seen in the Downtown Cabaret Children's Theatre production of Sleeping Beauty, playing a much different role than in this show. Patrons of the Downtown Cabaret Theatre will miss this talented actor who plays a myriad of character types, and plays them all incredibly well.

The singing highlights come from Jessica Paige Braun, Leondra Smith-West, and Alexis Willoughby, three real women with incredible voices that blend together strongly, in their roles as a trio of divas.

While there is a definite audience for this show, as was evidenced by the constant laughter and applause from the audience, this show is certainly not for everyone, especially not children. It would be an understatement to say that this show pushes the boundaries on appropriateness. If you are a fan of the Howard Stern, South Park, or Sacha Baron Cohen extreme shock value type of "humor," and furthermore a fan of disco music, you are the target audience for this show. If you find Howard Stern, South Park, and Sacha Baron Cohen to be crude, raunchy, and inappropriate, you will likely feel the same way towards this show. To the latter population, I would instead recommend you see the Downtown Cabaret Children's Theatre's brilliant production of Sleeping Beauty that has legitimately funny and clean humor that is appropriate and entertaining for all audiences.

PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, is scheduled to continue to run at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, CT, through May 20. For times and tickets, please go to

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From This Author Sean Fallon

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