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Priscilla Makes a Spectacle of Herself

The award-winning costumes of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert."

Drag is the spectacular art, and when Priscilla Queen of the Desert opens at Shea’s on Tuesday, Buffalo will get the full wattage, with miles of fabric, beads, feathers, and bangles of every color and concoction devising over 500 costumes, 150 pairs of shoes, 60 wigs, and a couple of hundred hats and headdresses.

Taking this show on the road is a Herculean task. Playbill Online reports that in January, when the tour debuted in Minneapolis, “someone in the show’s wardrobe department wrote on Facebook, ‘I was just compared to Satan today by a local dresser, because our show is so difficult.’”

All this to tell the heartwarming homespun tale of two drag queens and a transsexual who take a bus named Priscilla through the Australian desert to a gig in a distant town and encounter a series of adventures and complications along the way. The show is based on the 1994 hit film and preserves all of the key incidents while using a score of dance floor favorites, including “It’s Raining Men,” “Finally,” and, of course, “I Will Survive.”

The costumes won both the Olivier and Tony Awards, and feature everything from human cupcakes to lizards, to creations that defy categorization.

To celebrate the arrival of Priscilla in Buffalo, Shea’s is offering an exclusive party and show package for Friday, February 22, that includes a 20 percent discount on the ticket. The evening features a pre-show happy hour at Shea’s Smith Theatre, 5:30-7:30pm, with drink specials and a prize giveaway, Priscilla-themed music, and an appearance by members of Club Marcella “Life’s a Drag,” as well as complimentary hors d’oeuvres and Priscilla cupcakes. The package includes free admission to the official post-show party at Club Marcella, where you will see the 11:30pm performzance of “Life’s a Drag,” and mingle with the cast of Priscilla. The whole package starts at $65. Those who already have tickets for Friday night can add the package for only $20.50. Call 829-1154 to book.

Priscilla will be in town from Tuesday through Sunday at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. You can visit the website at, and get tickets at 1-800-745-3000.