Resorts World Manila Takes a Detour from Family Musicals

Resorts World Manila bids adieu to family musicals: PRISCILLA,
QUEEN OF THE DESERT stars Red Concepcion, Leo Valdez,
and Jon Santos.

Manila, Philippines--Resorts World Manila (RWM) begins its live shows for the summer this month, and will premiere the Broadway musical PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, on Friday, May 9, at Newport Performing Arts Theatre (NPAT).

Compared to RWM's previous theatrical productions "The Sound of Music" and "The King and I," PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT can be considered a detour from family musicals; but Michael Williams, NPAT's artistic director, is quick to defend that, "We wanted to attract a specific audience as opposed to a general one. We are PG-13 I think."

He adds, "I think we will experience differences in audience types depending on the shows that RWM is producing. Eventually, I hope we can earn a reputation for handling difficult productions with the appropriate sensitivity."

PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT has a book by Australian film director-writer Stephan Elliott and screenwriter-playwright Allan Scott. It was adapted from Elliott's 1994 film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," which tells the story of two drag queens and a transsexual, who are contracted to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert.

Directed by Jaime del Mundo, this RWM production, features a powerhouse cast led by Leo Tavarro Valdez as Tick/Mitzi; Jon Santos as Bernadette; Red Concepcion as Adam/Felicia; Michael Williams as Miss Understanding; the Divas Bituin Escalante, Lani Ligot, and Timmy Canlas; Pinky Marquez as Shirley; and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Marion.

Its total number of cast members reaches 30, including the ensemble. According to Williams, "The ensemble really has to work as one unit. So there is no 'lead' ensemble. There are leads, supports, featured roles, and the ensemble."

Valdez, best known for his role as The Engineer in "Miss Saigon," says that the role he is playing is quite challenging because it would require him to wear high heels and a huge Afro wig. Celebrity impersonator Santos, on the other hand, is excited to do his role because it is his first time to play a fictitious character. Concepcion, the youngest among the leads, is just in awe working side by side Valdez and Santos.

In 2010, PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT won the Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Tony Sheldon (Bernadette), and Best Costume Design for Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner. In 2011, the show received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for Tony Sheldon (Bernadette), and won A Tony Award for Best Costume Design for Chappel and Gardiner.

For more information and tickets, visit or call (632) 908-8833.

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From This Author Jude Cartalaba

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