100 Years of Magic

Broadway San Jose’s General Manager

By Iride Aparicio

Photos by:  © Joan Marcus

BRYANT WEST as Felicia atop the bus Priscilla
 BRYANT WEST as Felicia atop the bus Priscilla

SAN JOSÉ, CA – Broadway San José  will open its new season on October 29 with a dazzling production: PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL, a Nederlander Presentation based on the l994 Australian movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It will be presented at the newly-renovated San José Center for the Performing Arts in San José.

For those lovers of theatrical spectacles, PRISCILLA, the 2011 Tony® Award-winning musical for wardrobe, is a feast for the eyes. It has more than 500 costumes, 60 wigs, 200 hats, including headdresses and 150 pairs of shoes. On the musical side, the music in PRISCILLA, a hit parade of over 20 dance-floor favorite songs, is lively and the dancing is superb. The musical numbers include: “It’s Raining Men.” which is loved by everybody.

EMILY AFTON, BRIT WEST and BRE JACSON and company in the number “Its Raining Men.”
  Center Left to right (flying) EMILY AFTON, BRIT WEST and BRE JACSON and company in the number “Its Raining Men.”

The show,  about a trio of friends on a rod trip of a lifetime  who hop aboard  “PRISCILLA,” a battered old bus,  searching for love and friendship in the Australian desert, finding much more than they ever dreamed at the end, has wonderful actors: among them  WADE McCOLLUM (“Tick/Mitzi”) SCOTT WILLIS (“Bernadette”) BRYAN WEST (“Adam/Felicia”) and JOE HART as “Bob.”

Trying to learn more about Broadway San José's new Season, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL interviewed its General Manager, NANCI WILLIAMS.

It is a Classic Season,” she told us, “in that most of the shows are shows that people are familiar with. We have one South Bay Area Premier, with EVITA, and a West Coast exclusive with the AUSTRALIAN BEE GEES SHOW, the touring BEE GEES which are touring the world and getting great reviews. We have a brand new production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR  DREAM COAT, which replaced THE  MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, and two block busters with JERSEY BOYS and WICKED. To have these two big shows in one Season  have done very well in marketing it, because they are shows which have wide spread appeal to the audience.”

And let’s not forget that we are opening the Season with PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESSERT (the Musical) which is a wonderful show and a big production.  The costumes   are amazing, and it has the type of dance numbers that people will remember.  It is a great show. “

CWB: Could you tell our readers something special about PRISCILLA?

N.W.: “Most of our shows come directly from Broadway, but PRISCILLA  started in Australia and was actually inspired by a small independent film that came out in l994 called “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” The makers of that film went on to work with some people who were familiar with the musical format, and they turned it into a full stage musical with huge production numbers and many costumes. I actually saw one review recently that says  that they (those who wrote the musical) added more heart to the story that existed in the film, so it is  going to be a great show. Because it  played in San Francisco,  I talked to lots of people who actually have seen the show, and I could not find anyone who did not say that it was spectacular.”

To hear those comments from the audience is good for the box office of  Broadway San José, because it means that BSJ's PRISCILLA will give those people in S.F. who loved the show, the unique opportunity to see it again in the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, which after beeing renovated during the Summer, is now able to accommodate bigger shows like this one.

“Most musicals have wide appeal for the audience now.” adds NANCI “ The old-fashioned musical was the white audience domain, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore, specially with a show like PRISCILLA, which is an international  sensational show. Its appeal is going to cross all  types of lives. I don’t think that there is anything in this show that cannot be understood by everyone. The show is a heart-felt comedy, a show where people laughs, but also a story where the main character is on a road trip with his friends because he would like to see a son he had never met. So it is also very sentimental “


C.W.B. We will be covering your Season, which means that we will talk about each one of your shows individually as they are presented, but before finishing our interview, I would like to ask you if there is something else about your shows that  you would like our readers to know.

N.W. “I am still working on this, but we are in the process of putting together a Holiday Packagewhich is really  a “mini subscription” which will include three Season’s shows. This Package (which includes three tickets to see three different shows) will give many people the opportunity to purchase it and give it as a “Holyday Gift.”

For further information on Season Ticket call 1-800-395-2929 or order them online at www.broadwaysanjose.com