Twenty-four hours after facing the critics, the team behind Australian blockbuster musical import Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical were ready to celebrate with a star-studded gala premiere last night (24 March 2009, previews from 10 March) at the West End’s Palace Theatre (See Also Today's 1st Night Photos.

Jason Donovan, Tony Sheldon and Oliver Thornton star as three fish-out-of-water friends heading across the outback in their eponymous pink bus (which is heavily featured on stage).

Adapted from the 1994 Oscar-winning cult film which starred Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical had its world premiere in Sydney in October 2006. Original cast member Sheldon makes his West End debut as transsexual Bernadette, with Donovan as Tick/Mitzi and Thornton as Adam/Felicia, his drag queen colleagues.

The Priscilla score features a host of dance-floor classics including "I Love the Nightlife", "I Will Survive", “Go West”, "Finally", “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, “Hot Stuff”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and a Kylie Minogue medley.

The stage musical has a book by Allan Scott and Stephan Elliot (writer/director of the film). It’s directed by Simon Phillips, choreographed by Ross Coleman and designed by Brian Thomson (who also conceived the on-stage bus), with costumes (some 380 of them!) by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, lighting by Nick Schlieper, sound by Michael Waters and make-up by Cassie Hanlon.

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For Whatsonstage.com TV, interviewer Theo Bosanquet and director John Gidley were on hand at the Palace Theatre for the Priscilla gala performance and at the London Hippodrome for the post-show party. Amongst our TV interviewees are the show’s stars Jason Donovan, Tony Sheldon, Oliver Thornton and Clive Carter, director Simon Phillips, costume designer Tim Chappel, and other first night guests including Richard Curtis and Anneka Rice.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical is produced in the West End by Back Row Productions, Specific Films, Rafford Films, Chugg Entertainment, Gordon Frost Organisation, Mirvish Productions and the Really Useful Group, in association with MGM On Stage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.

- by Terri Paddock