The curtain rose at Palace Theatre last night, March 20, for the opening of new Broadway musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” Simon Phillips...

The curtain rose at Palace Theatre last night, March 20, for the opening of new Broadway musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.”

Simon Phillips directs this presentation of the Melbourne Theatre Company. The jukebox musical follows three drag performers — Tick/Mitzi (Will Swenson), Bernadette (Tony Sheldon), and Adam/Felicia (Nick Adams) — who are traveling across the Australian desert on a bus named “Priscilla.”

This raucous road trip’s final destination is a casino owned by (unbeknownst to the others) Tick’s wife, who hopes to reunite her husband with the six-year-old son he’s never met. Along the way, the trio mixes and jives with residents from the towns they pass through, making for a colorful journey filled with hits from the ’70s and ’80s.

Adapted from the 1994 movie “The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and produced by Bette Midler, this show made its North American stage debut in Toronto after a wildly successful premiere run in Australia. Film screenwriter Stephan Elliott co-wrote the book with Allan Scott, and the production also features critic-wowing costumes by the original’s Oscar-winning duo Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner.

Previews began February 28 at the 1,727-seat Palace, which saw capacity rise from 78 to 92 percent in the past three weeks. Regular ticket prices range from $50 to $125, and the show has grossed $2,142,762 so far, according to the Broadway League.

“Priscilla” is booked into an open-ended run, and tickets are presently on sale through December 18. Evening performances are Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Tuesday at 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Palace Theatre is located at 1564 Broadway in New York, NY. “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” runs about two-and-a-half hours, including an intermission. More details are available on the production’s official Web site.

Opening Night: “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”

Publication Critic Review
Variety Steve Suskin “Inartful here, crass there, this rollicking crowdpleaser in sequins nonetheless packs enough heart to leave the masses enthralled.”
New York Times Charles Isherwood “‘Priscilla’ feels monotonous and mechanical.”
TheaterMania David Finkle “While the show will likely prove to be a crowd-pleaser, it can be difficult to tell whether all of those offering a standing ovation at the curtain call actually enjoyed what they saw — or are simply surrendering out of sheer exhaustion.”
Hollywood Reporter David Rooney “Above all, hats off — or peacock-plumed headdresses — to the wildly inventive costumes of Oscar-winning team Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner….”
New York Daily News Joe Dziemianowicz “[Sheldon] is flat-out wonderful. He’s tough and tender, knows how to get a laugh and lets Bernadette’s soul shine as bright as his glittery getups.”
Chicago Times Chris Jones “‘Priscilla’ has a rich dynasty of queens, unfazed by any desert and very much at home on Broadway.”