'Priscilla' comes to Tampa's Straz Center

April 4, 2013 

It's basically a drag show with a plot and a heart.

"Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical" is the awkwardly titled stage version of the 1994 semi-musical film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

The story has to do with two drag queens and a transgender woman traveling across the vast Australian desert in a school bus that's been converted into a de facto SUV. "Priscilla" is the name of the bus, not one of its inhabitants.

One of the three will see his estranged 8-year-old son when they reach their destination. That, and the assortment of people the trio encounter along the way, is where the show's heart comes in.

But really, the musical consists largely of a lot of glitzy nightclub numbers in which men, fabulously attired in women's clothing, perform disco hits including "I Will Survive," "It's Raining Men" and "I Love the Night Life."

The national tour of the show, which won a Tony Award for its costumes, comes to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts for seven shows beginning April 9.

No doubt, how much you'll enjoy the show will depend on your feelings about classic disco music.

The Straz Center's website warns that it's not intended for children younger than 16. Chances are that once you tell young teenagers about the storyline and the music they won't feel heartbroken to be a left at home.

Details: April 9-14, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N.W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $44.50 and up, plus service charge. Information: 813-229-7827 or www.strazcenter.org.

-- Marty Clear

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