Full casting has been announced today for Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, the musical stage adaptation of the 1994 Oscar-winning Australian film comedy, which receives its European premiere on 23 March 2009 (previews from 10 March, gala night on 24 March) at the West End’s Palace Theatre.

In addition to the principals - as previously reported (See News, 16 Sep 2008), Australians Jason Donovan and Tony Sheldon, who reprises his award-winning performance from the original production, and Brits Clive Carter and Oliver Thornton – the cast will feature Zoe Birkett, Kate Gillespie and Emma Lindars as the three Divas, Wezley Sebastian as Miss Understanding, Amy Field as Marion, Danielle Coombe as Shirley, Tristan Temple as Jimmy, Kanako Nakano as Cynthia, Steven Cleverley as Young Bernadette and John Brannoch as Frank.

The company is completed by Phillip Arran, Matthew Cole, Amy Edwards, Mark Inscoe, Zabrina Norry, Will Peaco, John Phoenix, James Rees, Craig Ryder, Jeremy Secomb and Jon Tsouras.

In Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Sydney drag queen Mitzi (aka Tick) and her two fish-out-of-water friends, Felicia (Adam) and transsexual Bernardette, are heading 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. Like the film, the musical is fashioned around disco hits including \"I Love the Nightlife,\" \"I Will Survive\", “Shake Your Groove Thing” and \"Finally\".

Jason Donovan drags up as Mitzi/Tick (the part played on screen by Hugo Weaving), with Tony Sheldon as Bernadette (Terence Stamp in the film), Oliver Thornton as Felicia/Adam (Guy Pearce on screen) and Clive Carter as the “quintessential Aussie” mechanic Bob.

For the adaptation, 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.

- by Terri Paddock