While I’m not sure how much it cost to produce the national tour of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I’d wager that a sizable, of not primary, chunk of the change went into the show’s outlandish costumes and towering wigs.
Costume designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, who also designed the costumes for the movie on which the musical is based, pull out all the stops. A parade of eye-poppingly fantastical outfits, often fashioned from found objects such as sandals, beach balls and balloons, strut front-and-center in this crowd-pleaser, which is playing at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre through March 30.
And as the dynamo trio of ladysingers (Emily Afton, Bre Jackson and Brit West) wail through our favorite gay anthems such as “It’s Raining Men” and “I Will Survive,” often while floating high above the stage, you can’t help but sing along.
But this musical, which was a blazing hit in Australia before it came to the states, is more than just platform shoes, glitter and campy costumes.
There’s a big heart under all that frock.