Stage West’s production of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Priscilla Go-West-scaled

Friday, April 29, 2022 Evening show

Once again, I knew nothing about this show until it came to Stage West. I was sure I had heard of it, but really had no idea about the content or storyline. 

Wow, what a wonderful surprise this was! 

Masks are no longer required, so most attendees were not wearing masks and people seemed to be much more comfortable and at ease than what I had observed in the past year or so. The buffet was lovely and there was, as always, a wide selection of salads, meat dishes and desserts. The menu included hot dishes such as Crispy Garlic Potato Wedges, Seafood Mac and Cheese, Oriental Fried Rice, and Blackened Smoked Pork loin. There were several vegetarian options including California Mixed Vegetables, Fried Vegetarian Spring Rolls and even Vegan Spring Rolls. Although the food was lovely and everyone seemed to be enjoying it, I couldn’t wait to see the show. The musical numbers were of course listed in the program and there were oldies like It’s Raining Men, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, True Colours, The Morning After and Always On My Mind.

We were not given our usual seats, and my initial concern was that we might be missing out on something as we were about as far over to one side as the seating allowed. My concerns were for nought, as we could see perfectly, and the performers were very good about engaging everyone in the audience.

The sets and lighting were not over complicated, but very effective. In several scenes there was a camper van that was cleverly exposed from the outside or the inside depending on what was required for a particular scene. 

I waited with anticipation for the glitter and glam and I was not disappointed.  From the sequined trio of Divas with their red bouffant hairdos, to Felicia, Mitzi and Bernadette, the costumes were everything I was hoping for. Over the top was just the right amount of glitz for this show. The cast was made up of exceptional talent. They could sing and dance with the best of them. I particularly enjoyed the voice of Mitzi/Tick who I believe was played by Clint Butler. I was also very moved by the performance of the Young Bernadette alongside current day Bernadette, as she remembered her glory days.

There were several poignant scenes highlighting some of the struggles that these Queens, had to not only endure, but overcome. It brought to mind the prejudice, judgement, and even shame that is imposed on people who may not live their lives as we do. I find that so often, the authors and playwrights give us lots to think about. This show was what I would call a musical comedy and yet, it was very thought provoking. What would it be like to live your life in a way that is right for you, but that so many people felt was flawed or wrong? Several of the actors come from places such as this and I am thinking that this play gave them a powerful voice and a chance to celebrate who they are. I certainly hope so.

The singing and dancing were great, and it was all I could do not to sing along and “chair dance”. The choreography was brilliantly executed and very entertaining and added another dimension to the performances. The music was live, and the band didn’t miss a beat. I thoroughly enjoyed this show and even gave them a standing ovation at the end. I believed the characters and their struggles. I love it when entertainment makes me feel something. Some shows are a treat for the eyes, and ears, but I am a big fan of shows that also feed my soul. This was such a show. It got me right in the feels. Compassion, understanding, acceptance, love, and inclusion are all words that people like to use, but perhaps should put into practice more often. I even shed a tear or two writing this review.

I’m not crying, you’re crying!

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