Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

If you’re familiar with Tarzan,the King of the Jungle, that fact will in no way prepare you for your acquaintance with “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” It’s not just because the leafy jungle is wildly different from the dry, sandy desert. Tarzan is known for his incredibly macho strength while Priscilla is an inanimate object, a bus. If you’re open minded and seeking musical adventures, then Priscilla is a colorful, zany, lively, upbeat, engaging and unconventional option courtesy of the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport weekends until Sunday, May 20th.

Based on adult movie hit of 1994, the current iteration is credited to Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott for book, married to a hit parade of fabulous songs like “It’s Raining Men,” “What’s Love got to Do with It?,” “I Love the Nightlife,” “True Colors,” “I Will Survive” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” among many others.

This musical centers on a trio of drag queens, men who enjoy dressing as women, Tick (Jason Parry), Bernadette (Lance Anthony) and Adam (Tim Rinaldi) who are journeying across Australia to perform a gig at a casino for Tick’s estranged wife Marion (Lisa DeAngelis). Tick’s ulterior motive is to reconnect with his eight year old son Benji (Alex Rosenberg/RJ Vercellone) who doesn’t know his dad or how he earns a living.

On their trek across the Outback, the three encounter Aborigines who welcome them, a group of homophobic men who greet them with violence, a gaggle of tourists who applaud them and a mechanical problem with the bus that strands them. A friendly mechanic named Bob (Eric Dino) rescues them and joins them on their journey, while his wife Cynthia (Bonnie Gregson) shows off a popping good time on the dance floor.

Along the way, a trio of Divas (Jessica Paige Braun, Leondra Smith-West, Alexis Willoughby) act like a Greek chorus and belt out most of the two dozen hit tunes. The fashion parade of rainbow costumes is courtesy of Jessica Camarero, with Eli Newsom as musical director and producing Artistic Director and Christy McIntosh-Newsom directing this whole feathers and frills extravaganza.

For tickets ($33), call the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden 0Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636 or online at ticket@mycabaret.org. Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m, Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.

Hop aboard Priscilla for a wild ride with three drag queens as tour guides who are busy driving home a message of tolerance and acceptance of homosexuals as well as a plea for love, understanding and friendship.

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