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Priscilla Bus May Pull Out of Palace at End of Year

By • West End
Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical is likely to finish in the West End at the end of the year. Although closing notices have not been officially posted, the final performance at the Palace Theatre may be either Saturday 31 December 2011 or the following Saturday 7 January 2012, which is the end of its current booking period.

Following cast members’ tweets on micro-blogging site Twitter, the show’s publicist issued a statement to Whatsonstage.com saying: “The producers of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical made the decision today to inform the London cast and crew of the likelihood that the show would end its three-year run in the West End at the end of 2011. No formal notice has been given.”

Adapted from the 1994 Oscar-winning Australian film starring Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp, it tells the story Sydney drag queen Mitzi (aka Tick) and her two fish-out-of-water friends, Felicia and transsexual Bernadette, who head west across the desert to Alice Springs in their battered old bus. They are each on their own personal journey of discovery, but together they put on a show unlike anything the locals have ever seen before.

The West End cast is currently led by Richard Grieve as Tick, Don Gallagher as Bernadette and Whatsonstage.com Award winner Oliver Thornton as Adam. They are joined by Newley Aucutt, John Brannoch, Selina Chilton, Steven Cleverley, James Cohen, Daniele Coombe, Tim English, Liz Ewing, Steven Grace, Hugo Harold Harrison, Matt Krzan, Frances Mayli McCann, Mark Moraghan, Kanako Nakano, Lucy Newton, Callum Nicol, Ian Oswald, Gemma O’Duffy, Will Peaco, Olivia Philip, John Phoenix, Charlotte Riby, Lucinda Shaw, Tristan Temple, Graham Vick and Graham Weaver.

Previous cast members have included Jason Donovan, who originated the role of Tick in the West End. He was followed in the role by Ben Richards.

The UK premiere production, opened on 23 March 2009 (previews from 10 March), won four Whatsonstage.com Awards in 2010 – for Best New Musical, Best Set Designer and Best Choreographer, in addition to Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Oliver Thornton.

Across the Atlantic, Priscilla had its Broadway premiere, after a 12-week try-out run in Toronto, at New York's Palace Theatre on 20 March 2011 (previews from 28 March), and a US tour has been announced for autumn 2012.

For the stage version, members of the original film’s creative team – writer and director Stephan Elliott, costume designers Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel, make-up designer Cassie Hanlon and producer Michael Hamlyn – were joined by theatre director Simon Phillips. The West End production is presented by Liz Koops and Garry McQuinn for Back Row Productions, Michael Hamlyn for Specific Films, Allan Scott and the Really Useful Theatre Company.

Note from the team on the 5th Floor: Although always a shame to see any West End show finish a long run, we at Whatsonstage.com will be particularly sad to lose Priscilla and its cast members as our neighbours at the Palace Theatre. Our best wishes are with them all!


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