Priscilla Queen of the Desert in Madrid
I love musicals, and it would appear that I am not the only one judging from the audience reaction to an Australian musical in Madrid, Spain. The entire experience in Madrid was different to what I had anticipated
I have had a long and loving association with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert called Priscilla Reina del Desierto, el musical in Madrid.
I first saw the film in 1994 and became addicted. It is the story of two drag queens and a transsexual woman, who travel across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus that they have named Priscilla. The film is humorous, sad and uplifting. It has the best soundtrack with classics like, I Love the Nightlife – Alicia Bridges, Go West – Village People, I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor, and Shake Your Groove Thing– Peaches & Herb. How could it not appeal?
However, it did confront people with its subject matter but in a good way. It was about people and it worked.
It debuted at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney in October 2006 and yes, I was there with Gordon, who had given me the tickets for my birthday. Good good man. And yes, we saw it more than once because I love it.
See, PRISCILLA on Broadway: The Priscilla Diva Mix
My History with Musicals
It probably started with The Sound of Music and took off with the Rocky Horror Show, which I saw on a school excursion of all things. Rock Operas like Hair the hippy musical with nudity – loved it. Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar were both sensational. Tommy – The Rock Musical creeped me out a bit, but Pinball Wizard and The Who was powerful. Mama Mia with Abba, what can I say other than avoid the movie like the plague and stick to the excellent stage play. Strictly Ballroom a Baz Luhrmann production is another Australian stage play that, like Priscilla Queen of the Desert shows that Australians can do quirky well. The Lion King did not ring my bell, however. Les Miserables was enjoyable, but possibly not camp enough for me.
Back to Priscilla Reina del Desierto, el musical in Madrid.
I was so excited to see that an Australian camp musical would be on in Spain, and we were fortunate that we were given tickets to see this show. We had met some lovely Belgian people in a tapas bar a few nights before and said we were going to see it. We were rapt when they turned up to the theatre, knowing nothing about the musical, and were waiting for us. They proceeded to dance and sing the night away just as we all did.
My next surprise were that there were so many children at the evening performace. I cannot see many Australian parents taking their kids to this musical though they should. The kids loved, loved, loved the show and danced and sang away throughout the entire performance, adding to the brilliance.
It got me thinking.
Spain has just celebrated their 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF CELEBRATING SAME SEX MARRIAGE, and yes I am shouting at our own archaic Australian government. LIKE SERIOUSLY. Spain is a very Catholic country that EMBRACES “LOVE”. It was in 2005 that a socialist government became the third European Union member to authorize same-sex unions. Australia, WAKE UP.
Anyhow, it is probably things like taking your children to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert that makes a country more accepting. I am listening to the soundtrack as I write this and thinking that I love musicals, and I loved seeing it in Madrid, and I love the way Spain are so ok with so many things.
I have told Gordon that I intend to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert in every country that it plays in. A tour has just started in the United Kingdom in September 2015, and will travel for a year. I think Glasgow in 2016 is sounding good.
Until then, we are looking forward to Book of Mormon on Broadway in New York City and maybe, just maybe a few more musicals.
What fun, I’ve seen the movie, so I can imagine the musical must be really amazing especially with music I total get into. I don’t blame you for not wanting to see it in every country!
Noel, when it comes to a town near you, we will go together, how about that?
Years ago I saw an excellent production of La Cage aux Folles but the memory is rather faded now.
One of the best for me was a fabulous evening at my local cinema watching a live viewing of the 25th Anniversary performance of the Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets there cost £250 while I spent a £5 and probably got a better view.
But my favourite of all has to be Les Misérable. I’ve only seen the stage show once but would dearly love to see it again. Have tickets for War Horse in December – can’t wait.
I think you like musicals as much as I do.
Not seen the musical or film, I’m afraid, but it sounds fun! Madrid strikes me as an unlikely place for it to be showing – I assume it was all in English?!
I think you would love it Paul. The dialogue was in Spanish but most songs were in English. It didn’t matter, as I know the script so well. The cast were amazing and really captured many Australian nuances.
I literally just missed Priscilla being on at my local theatre, would have loved to go. And I like you began with the Sound of Music… but actually I haven’t got far past that yet, it is still my favourite!
You must chase this musical; trust me you will thank me when you see it. It is actually playing all over the UK for the next year, so if you can see Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Paula, I have only seen a couple of musicals in my life. However, I remember how much I enjoyed those times (and concerts and live music too). I have not done any of those in a long time (not sure why). I have to get the purpose of buying tickets to one of these event (since Los Angeles has a bustling arts scene). Thanks for describing this musical. I have heard the title before but didn’t know anything about the story.
Ruth, if you can get definitely see Priscilla. It will give you a good understanding of Australia, and how we are good at laughing at ourselves as well.
I haven’t seen this musical, only the movie. I would say that The Lion King was my favourite musical. I saw it with my teenage daughter about 10 years ago in Sydney and it had a big impact on me. The costumes and the music was so magical! The other two I’ve seen overseas that I loved were Jersey Boys in New York and We Will Rock You in London – both fantastic shows.
I loved Jersey Boys and We Will Rock You, don’t know why I forgot to mention them. Lion King – maybe i should give it another chance.
I don’t remember much about the movie, but I do remember liking Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I imagine that the live musical must have been so much fun. I’m a fan of musicals, too — everything from the classics (Guys and Dolls) to modern ones like Mama Mia. Same sex marriage has recently been legalized in the USA, and the big news currently is about a county clerk who refuses to do her job and issue a marriage license to gay couples because of her personal beliefs.
I love a good musical with excellent and catchy songs. I have been reading about the 3 times divorced county clerk. Seems to be very hypocritical doesn’t it.
We saw it at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney and loved it. I didn’t know it was playing in Madrid and all over the place. Love your idea to see it wherever it plays around the world.
It was so good in Madrid; they got right into it, even more than what the audiences did in Sydney if that is possible.
I watched that video you included and I can’t believe I haven’t seen this show. I love the music. I am a fan of musicals too, as was my mother who took me to see so many of the classics when I was growing up. I took my girls when they were 2 and 4 to see the Lion King as we were in Toronto, hubby was working and I wanted to see the show. They were mesmerized and I loved it (sorry you didn’t). I am not sure I have a favorite. I didn’t know New Zealand was ahead of Australia on same sex marriage. It’s been legal here for a few years.
Rhonda, I will say that the movie is excellent as well, so get a copy and watch it. I know you will love it. I am hanging my head in shame that Australia does not have same sex marriage.
Love, love, love this post Paula and I loved Priscilla too. We saw in Melbourne several years ago and is still one of the best musical I’ve seen. Strictly Ballroom last year in Sydney was awesome too. I’ve seen all that you mentioned except Rocky Horror (I know, I don’t know how I missed that) and one you never mentioned but is a worthy mention was Jersey Boys which I loved that much I saw twice. Thank you for sharing one of my favourite passions… musicals!
I cannot forget that I forgot Jersey Boys, which I loved too. When we got married, one of my former students who now stars on Broadway had always promised he would sing at my wedding, and he did, singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. It was lovely as Gordon didn’t know he would be doing it.