500 costumes, 3 flying divas, 1 spectacular bus – Priscilla arrives in Christchurch

The Divas: Emily Burns, Naomi Ferguson and Jane Leonard

The Divas: Emily Burns, Naomi Ferguson and Jane Leonard

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert rolls into town on 24 March for what will be the first production in Showbiz Christchurch’s 2017 season.

Utilising over 700 costumes, wigs and headdresses from the UK touring show, Showbiz’s production will be the first New Zealand theatre company staging of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical. The show opens at the Isaac Theatre Royal on 24 March until 8 April.

Translating the iconic movie to a stage musical setting required significant changes by the authors of the film, Stephen Elliot and Allan Scott, and the musical’s writer and first director, Simon Phillips. The musical has evolved considerably since the first production left Australia eight years ago, there are now several stage versions, all different yet all preserving the audience focus on the show’s three unique characters and their personal and physical journey. The show’s enormous success has seen versions staged from South Korea to Sao Paulo and in just about every language including French, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek and Swedish. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is without doubt Australia’s most successful theatrical export.

The Showbiz version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert directed by Stephen Robertson will be a new interpretation of the show using the costumes and script that recently toured the UK and was last staged in Auckland.

Tom Worthington as Felicia

The title role of Priscilla is not played by an actor but is instead a bus which is being built in Christchurch by Scenic Solutions – along with a myriad of other set pieces designed by Harold Moot, including a nightclub, a casino and two outback pubs. Priscilla is set to be a visual feast on stage, with another Christchurch business, Lightsite, designing the lighting effects which will transport the audience from an inner city Sydney flat into the wide open spaces of the Australian outback.

Markham Lee as Bob and Cameron Douglas as Bernadette

Robertson has cast Cameron Douglas in the principal role of transsexual Bernadette, the oldest in the trio. Douglas has enjoyed a busy career since graduating NASDA in 2002, including performing in over 20 musicals and as the lead singer and guitarist in NZ’s premiere skiffle rock and roll band, The Goldonies.

The two other lead roles will feature Isaac Pawson (Tick/Mitzi) and Tom Worthington (Adam/Felicia), both graduates of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) who are carving out careers in musical theatre.

Providing many of the pumping disco hits that Priscilla has become synonymous for are the three flying Divas: Emily Burns, Naomi Ferguson and Jane Leonard accompanied by a rocking live band lead by New Zealand’s leading musical theatre maestro, Richard Marrett.

Also joining the cast at the end of February will be Auckland actor Melinda Joe who will play Cynthia, a woman with some unique talents!

Garry McQuinn of RGM Productions, the shows lead producer, is immensely proud of this version of Priscilla which will be staged by Showbiz. “The show is in better shape in every way – including dramaturgically, scale, production-wise, book and music – than the version we took from Sydney in 2008,” says McQuinn. “It’s a production I’m proud of in every respect.”

At the heart of the story is a message of tolerance, diversity and anti-bigotry. Its producers are committed to seeing the bus journey continue for as long as possible – not only on the world’s largest stages but in regional theatres as well. “I am really delighted that Christchurch will host the first season of the show produced by a New Zealand theatre company,” says Showbiz Christchurch President, Di Brodie.

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Auditions for the first Showbiz Christchurch 2017 Show!

Evita: 15 Sept 15 – 1 Oct 2016

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

24 March – 8th April 2017

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - opens 24 March 2017The Showbiz Christchurch season will be the NZ Theatre company premiere of this mega musical. A brand new bus is being built in Christchurch, and a spectacular array of 500 costumes, and 200 headdresses has been sourced from an international production to make this an incredibly spectacular musical.

Artistic Team:

Director/Choreographer: Stephen Robertson
Musical Director: Richard Marrett

Performance Season:

March 24th – 8 April 2017
Isaac Theatre Royal

Rehearsal Period:

Intensive music/production rehearsals from late January 2017

Audition Dates and Details:

Vocal auditions: Sunday 4 Dec, 10.30am-4 pm
Recalls: 7pm

Cast Details:
  • Cast size –19/ 20 on stage performers
  • 1 x Male lead 40s/ 50s strong singer/ mover – lean build
  • 1 x Male lead 20’s / 30s strong singer/ mover – lean build
  • 1 x Male lead early/ mid 20s strong singer/ mover – good looking, athletic build
  • 1 x Male lead 40s/ 50s character actor/ singer
  • 3 x Female supporting leads – Very strong singers, Pop Diva style, good movers 18 – 35.
  • 2 x Female supporting roles – 30s
  • Male ensemble/ Cameo’s– Strong movers – athletic/ lean builds, with singing ability. Age 16 – 30

Please note that this show has no female dancer/ singer ensemble.

All auditions will be held at Showbiz Studios – 369 St Asaph Street
Please park on the street as there is limited off street parking.

Contact Showbiz Christchurch for audition bookings and enquiries on (03) 377 7954
between 9am-3pm, Mon-Thu.


Audition Pack: