BWW Review: The Gateway's Long Island Premiere Of PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT
The Gateway's exciting Long Island premiere of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert went off without a hitch this past weekend at The Patchogue Theatre. Running through August 6th, I really can't stress enough that this musical is incredibly enjoyable and the cast, directed by David Ruttura, is top-notch. There were some changes from the 2011 Broadway production, but your big, glittery heart will definitely be smiling as you leave the theatre.
The emotional tale, based on the 1994 movie, follows three friends on a journey through the Australian outback. They bond, meet some interesting characters, and run into a little trouble along the way. The journey is initially proposed by drag performer Tick, a.k.a. Mitzi, portrayed by Tony Award winner Jarrod Emick. He receives a call from his estranged wife, Marion, that their son is asking about his father. At the same time, Marion mentions that she needs a show for her casino. So, Tick convinces his friends Bernadette, portrayed by William Selby, and Adam, a fellow drag performer a.k.a. Felicia, portrayed by Matthew Marks, to join him.
These men are really superb in their respective roles and the entire cast seems to be having a great time with the fun score filled with familiar 70's and 80's dance songs.
Mr. Emick (Broadway: Damn Yankees, Miss Saigon, et. al.) wonderfully portrays Tick/Mitzi. Indeed, a favorite among the audience is his beautiful, heartfelt rendition of "Always On My Mind" in act two. Additionally, Mr. Selby's (Forbidden Broadway) performance of Bernadette is truly endearing; however, don't cross her because she can pack a punch. They run into a group of low-life's who give them a hard time because they are drag performers, gay, and Bernadette is a transsexual. Bernadette proceeds to kick one of the guys and thunderous applause ensues. Throughout their journey, she makes the best out of every situation. And Mr. Marks (Broadway: Book Of Mormon, West Side Story) is utterly flawless as Adam/Felicia.
Mr. Ruttura's creative team is also brilliant.
Stan Meyer's set is outstanding. Priscilla, the bus they use for their excursion, was built from scratch and customized for the size of the stage. Additional highlights include the spectacular Tony winning Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner costumes from the Broadway production (!!!!!). This was enhanced stunningly by Doug Harry's spot-on lighting and the incredible orchestra headed up by Music Director Michael McAssey.
And so, Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert is definitely another hit for The Gateway. A thought provoking story, a sensational cast, and a lot of glitter and dance music make for a fun night of theatre.
Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert is presented by The Gateway at The Patchogue Theatre through August 6th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 286-1133 or visit www.thegateway.org
By Stephan Elliot and Alan Scott, Directed by Dave Ruttura, Choreography by Gerry McIntyre, Musical Direction by Michael McAssey, Set Design by Stan Meyer, Costumes by Academy Award winners Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner, Lighting Design by Doug Harry, Sound Design by Don Hanna, Production Management by Brian Loesch, Casting by Michael Baker, Company Management by Bethany Sortman, Stage Management by John "JP" Pollard
Starring Jarrod Emick, William Selby, Matthew Marks, Mitch Poulos, Coleen Sexton, Deb Walton, Lisa Helmi-Johanson, Darius Harper, Jon Cooper, Alex Nordin, Emily Grace Kersey, Mark DiConzo, Brooke Martino, Mallory Davis, Nicolas de La Vega, Adam Rennie, Andrew Norlen, Vinny Celeiro and Martavius Parrish