The Civic - Auckland Live, Auckland

16/10/2016 - 06/11/2016

Production Details

West End and Broadway stars, film and television actors, pop singers and Kanye West dancers …

With 10 years and several thousand kilometres racked up, the pink bus is looking more magnificent than ever for its triumphant return on 14 October and will run for a strictly limited season. Get your ticket to ride on this FABULOUS journey from Ticketmaster today.

This wildly fresh and funny musical based on the Oscar-winning film features a hit parade of dance-floor favourites, over 500 outrageous costumes, 200 extraordinary headdresses and a 10 metre long customised bus weighing 6 tonnes as its sparkling centrepiece – PRISCILLA is a must-see spectacular!

The record-breaking stage spectacular that sold 100,000 tickets in the six amazing weeks it was here in 2008 returns to our shores by popular demand, brought by the producers of the smash hit musicals Cats as well as Singin’ In The Rain, The Sound of Music and Annie.

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL has already been seen by close to 5 million people and grossed in excess of $300 million worldwide to become the most successful Australian musical of all time.

Originating & international Producer Garry McQuinn says that one of the great highlights of PRISCILLA’s first Australasian tour was the wonderful reception it received from the New Zealand audience at The Civic.

“A decade later in 2016, our pink bus will return.  She’s done a few kilometres since then – having been around the world a number of times with 17 international productions … including those on the West End and Broadway. She’s more fabulous than ever and I’m delighted to be bringing her back to New Zealand.”

Get ready for the musical bus journey of your life!

The Civic, Auckland
Friday 14 October – Sunday 6 November 2016
Tuesday; Wednesday; Thursday & Friday 7.30pm
Saturday 2.30pm & 7.30pm; Sunday 1pm & 6pm
Bookings:  Ticketmaster 09 970 9700 or  
Groups 10+ SAVE! Call Group Bookings on 09 970 9745

Songs Include:
It’s Raining Men
I’ve Never Been to Me
What’s Love Got to Do With It
Don’t Leave Me This Way
Go West
I Say a Little Prayer
I Love the Nightlife
Colour My World
I Will Survive
Thank God I’m a Country Boy
A Fine Romance
Shake Your Groove Thing
Pop Musik
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Hot Stuff
MacArthur Park
Boogie Wonderland
We Belong

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Nullabor Productions are delighted to announce the full cast for the New Zealand production of the international smash hit PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL opening on Friday, 14 October 2016 at The Civic in Auckland. 

From West End and Broadway stars to film and television actors, pop singers and even Kanye West dancers – this cast will have it all and promises to be one of THE most exciting to have graced The Civic stage. 

Joining the previously announced Ray Meagher (aka Alf Stewart from Home and Away) as Bob the mechanic, are the West End’s Simon Green as Bernadette, Brazilian star Andre Torquato as Adam/Felicia, and Broadway heart-throb Bryan Buscher-West as Tick/Mitzi. 

Simon, a Drama Desk Award nominee and regular on television series including Mr Selfridge and Eastenders, comes direct from playing Bernadette in the UK, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. Green is a veteran West End performer, and prior to frocking up, featured in three Sondheim original West End productions as well as two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall – The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary and Sondheim at 80 for the BBC Proms.  In addition to leading roles at many of the UK’s major theatres, his other West End credits include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Boyfriend, The Wizard of Oz and Showboat

“Bernadette is undoubtedly one of the best roles that I have ever had. She has the best lines and the funniest, saddest, loneliest moments in the play and she gets the best costumes.”

Andre Torquato comes fresh from playing Adam/Felicia on board the Norwegian Epic cruise liner, and prior to that he played the role in the Brazilian production of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL.  Based in New York City, the Brazilian is a graduate of The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. Other credits include The Sound of Music, Gypsy, The Witches of Eastwick, The Wizard of Oz, Godspell and Rent.

“I’m thrilled to be riding the pink bus one more time, now in beautiful New Zealand.”

Bryan Buscher-West is a star of Broadway, having understudied both the roles of Adam/Felicia and Tick/Mitzi during the entire season of PRISCILLA – co-produced there by mega diva Bette Midler! Bryan then boarded the big pink bus for a 12-month tour of the US, playing Adam/Felicia. His other Broadway credits including Wicked, Legally Blonde and Hairspray. He was no stranger to the stage when he arrived on Broadway, having been part of European pop band 5NY. 

Long term fans of Shortland Street will see the return to our shores of Lena Cruz (aka outspoken clinic director Sofia Martinez). Since her shock exit in 2001, she has become hugely popular as a stage actress including creating the widely acclaimed role of Cynthia in the original production of PRISCILLA. Other roles have included Menopause The Musical: Women On Fire, The Threepenny Opera, Fame, Hair – The Musical, and An Officer and A Gentleman. She will reprise her role as Cynthia when she returns to Auckland in October.

Many of the cast will come direct from the UK tour of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL, and have West End, Broadway or international tour credits (other career highlights bracketed). They are:

Amy Edwards (The Lion King, Australia), Aaron Sweeney-Harris (Aladdin, O2 London and featured dancer for Katie Melua), Joshua Buscher-West (PRISCILLAsince the North American Premier in Toronto, Canada, including Broadway), Adam Lyons (Kanye West dancer Brit Awards 2015), Ian Oswald (Pirates of the Caribbean, feature film, Chicago and Starlight Express), Callum Nicol (Dirty Dancing, West End, Finding Neverlandfeature film with Johnny Depp), John Brannoch (Matilda the Musical, West End and Chicago, West End), Martin Harding (PRISCILLA, UK Tour), Evan Wittstock (Les Misérables, Hello, Dolly!, Pippin, and Kiss Me, Kate), Craig Ryder (We Will Rock You, West End and UK Tour), Regan Shepherd (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, UK Tour and The Witches of Eastwick), Ellie Leah (Sister Act, West End and Mamma Mia! International Tour), Erin Bruce (Shout!), Bleu Woodward (Kinky Boots, West End and Mamma Mia! International Tour), Amy Di Bartolomeo (Starlight Express, Germany).


Headed by James Cundall, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is one of Australasia’s leading producers of live entertainment, and over the last two decades has created a reputation for bringing top quality international productions to audiences across five continents.

Since 1992, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions has produced a wide array of live entertainment internationally and has brought spectacular theatre shows to New Zealand including Cats, Blue Man Group, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, Singin’ In The Rain, The Sound of Music, Annie, We Will Rock You, Stomp, Potted Potter, Rick Stein, Slava’s Snowshow, Riverdance, Grease, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Bootleg Beatles, and The Imperial Ice Stars productions of The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice , Cinderella on Ice and The Nutcracker on Ice to name just a few.

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is based in the UK with companies in Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.



Nullarbor Productions (managing partner Garry McQuinn, Executive Producer Bradley Stauffer-Kruse) oversees and manages all international versions of Priscilla the Musical since it’s Australian premiere in 2006.

Following successful runs in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, various productions of Priscilla have played London, Toronto, Broadway, Las Vegas, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Milan, Rome, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Manila, Athens, Seoul and Singapore, as well as numerous UK, US and Italian cities.  Future plans include a return to Australia and New Zealand, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Berlin, Paris and Tokyo.  Also opening this year is a production aboard the Norwegian Epic, one of the largest cruise ships in the world. 






















Theatre , Musical ,

And so you’re back… from overseas

Review by James Wenley 20th Oct 2016

When the Priscilla bus last made a stop at the Civic in 2008, it was the first time that the Aussie musical had made an international trip. We were a try-out as they continued to evolve the show, and Aucklanders certainly showed their love with a rush for tickets. Since then, the Queen of the Desert has quite a few more km’s on her: London, New York, Brazil, Sweden, Spain, Seoul… even a production on a cruise ship.

How is she looking? Aged, certainly. She can’t do everything she used to (this touring production doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of ’08). On the plus side, the bus’s exterior has been upgraded, with more flashing lights, and we’ve even got more Kylie Minogue thrown in. And at her heart, she’s still the same Priscilla, as uplifting as ever. [More


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Sparkling night out with reservations

Review by Dionne Christian 19th Oct 2016

There’s a line in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – one of the less memorable, it must be said – where older transgender character Bernadette tells younger drag queen Adam/Felicia sometimes less is more.

It’s definitely not a sentiment the creative team behind the musical spectacular adhere to: more sequins, more sparkles, more glitz and more breath-taking costumes (471 to be precise) than you’ll see in one theatre at any time are found here.

Apparently, it takes 200 wet wipes a night to remove the make-up from the cosmopolitan cast of ferociously talented singers and dancers who strut their stuff throughout the two and a half hour (including interval) show where the disco hits come loud and often. The one-liners – some of them far too rude to print here – are the type you want to remember and serve up yourself from time-to-time. [More]  


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A story of family with sequins, sensational singing, dancing, music, costumes and glitter lipstick

Review by Kathleen Mantel 17th Oct 2016

It’s like I’ve been dropped in to a huge wonderfully sweet glittering glass of champagne and swirled deliriously around and around for the past 2 and a half hours.  In a good way.  In a great way.  In a fantastic way. 

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is based on the 1994 film.  Tick (Mitzi) is living the high life as a Sydney a drag queen until he gets a phone call from his wife (from another life) telling him that his 6-year-old son Benji wants to meet him. She convinces Tick to drive across the desert and perform in the casino where she works in Alice Springs and get to know his son. 

A drag show needs more than one diva so Tick plucks fading flower of the past Bernadette, and the saucy untamed Felicia (Adam), to join him on the trip.  The trio travel across the desert in a pink glittery bus (Priscilla), cat-fighting, name-calling and breaking down in backwards towns.  

The costumes are jaw dropping.  They are simply unbelievable, absolutely over-the-top wacky.  They are the work of Academy Award winning designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner.  And there are 220 costumes changes every show! The cupcakes with candles are a favourite, as are the emus, but really it’s hard to pick favourites with such a feast for the eyes.  The shoes and the wigs, ohh you can’t call them wigs, they are works of art, and the jandle dress … ohh and the cut out bottom dress … and the … it is an overload. 

Priscilla the film was released 22 years ago and I do find some of the references in the musical slightly dated but that could be a cultural misunderstanding – about how popular Kylie still is in Australia after all these years! 

There is a bus on stage for most of the show.  It’s unlike any bus you’re likely to see. Priscilla the bus is a huge part of the musical itself.  It’s almost another character, with its own temperament, sometimes angry, sometimes nurturing, taking us all on the journey.

The stand out ensemble performance is Lena Cruz who is electrifyingly funny as Cynthia, Bob’s frustrated wife forever reliving her glory days on stage. 

There are so many musical wow factors to this production, from the floating descent of the three divas, to the ‘Cake Left out in the Rain’, ‘We Belong’, the ‘True Colours’ harmony, and a La Traviata moment.

Priscilla is a full body experience of music and song and costume and glitter and sequins.  It’s hilarious and naughty and raucous and poignant all at once.  The musical has toured all around the world.  It’s an absolute extravaganza. But it also the human story of a man’s trepidation in facing fatherhood.  The Elvis / Burt Bacharach duo between Tick and his son Benji, played by local Owairaka 9-year-old Lukas Maher, is touching. 

All three of the main characters have the ability to make you realize that behind the face paint, they too have hopes and dreams, and fears.  When this humanity shines through, especially from Bryan Buscher-West as Tick, and Simon Green as the ageing Bernadette, it hits you.  It’s a story of family, and wanting to belong.  It’s an old story, just with sequins, sensational singing, dancing, music, costumes and glitter lipstick. 

Priscilla is perfect for the stage.  22 years ago I loved the film.  Today I adore the musical as do the whole Civic, it seems, who are all on their feet by the end of the show.


Editor October 22nd, 2016

The Aboriginal character, Jimmy, from Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, has been cut from its NewZealand stage show. 

'We couldn't find any Aboriginals to play the role' - Aboriginal actors respond to NZ producer's claim.

A New Zealand production of the successful musical adaptation of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert has come under fire this week after the producer cut the Aboriginal role of Jimmy, played by the late Alan Dargin in the original production, claiming that there were no Aboriginal actors to fill the part.

Producer Gary McQuinn has told Maori Television that when an Aboriginal actor couldn't be found, or having white actors painting up and pretending to be Aboriginal, the production was better off to exclude the character from the show altogether. [More

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