By MIKE CHAIKEN
The score for the musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” is like a dance party jukebox.
The stage show, which is being performed this weekend and next by Connecticut Theatre Company, includes such infectious favorites as “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive,” “Shake Your Groove Thing,” and lots more.
“The music in this show is just one of the many elements that makes it so great,” said Bristol’s Zach Taylor, who plays “Adam” in the show. “I think what excited me the most about doing this show was the fact that I already knew the entire score by heart. I love how we get to perform these classic no. 1 hits while simultaneously telling a story.”
“And hearing them sung by our amazing cast just makes it a hundred times better because the voices in this show are so vibrant and electric,” said Zach.
The musical is based on the movie of the same name. It follows three men, who are drag queen performers, as they make their across the Australian outback to a gig. “Tick” is dealing with family issues. “Bernadette” is grieving for her late husband. And Adam is on his own journey.
The disco music in the score fits perfectly with the flamboyant leads of the show.
“If I had to pick a favorite I think it would be ‘I Love The Nightlife,’” said Zach. “Or at least that’s what I constantly have stuck in my head when leaving rehearsals.”
As for the story of the show, Zach said, “‘Priscilla…’ is a fabulous show that will have you singing, laughing, crying, and dancing in your seat. But I think what the audience takes home with them after the curtain closes is that ultimate message of love. The show points out numerous times that there will always be someone who loves, cares, and supports you even when you’re feeling completely alone.”
As for his role as Adam, Zach said, “I love playing the carefree and comedic one of the bunch, that’s always a treat for me.”
“I think of Adam as having one of the more complex character arcs of the show,” said Zach. “While we all have our journey over the course of the show, I think Adam has the farthest to go and makes one of the larger transitions. Growing up with money, having looks, and talent, this is the first time he’s felt some of the hardships that say Bernadette has dealt with…”
“What I love even more about the characters in this show is that they are very distinct and different,” said Zach. “Each one has their own quirk and unique personality.”
Since Zach is playing a drag queen, costumes play a central role in defining his character.
“Though these costumes are near and dear to my heart, they cause me the most stress in this production,” said Zach. “I have 13 quick changes, most of which are under 30 to 45 seconds. But I occasionally get the luxury of changing in under one whole minute.”
Zach’s sister, Cass, fortunately, is his quick change assistant. “My life would be a lot harder and stressful in this show if I didn’t have her around.”
Audiences will enjoy the CTC production, said Zach. “(It’s a) a treat from start to finish… I think the music and flashy costumes will be enough to fill the seats in our theater but I think it’s the talent through acting and storytelling that will make the audience want to stay and see it over and over again.”
In addition to Taylor, the cast includes Kenneth Lautz (Bantam), Erin Frechette (Bristol), Amanda Nelson and David Walls (Colchester), Deidra S. Jefferson (Hartford), Chelsea Derby, Jeanie Dorothy, and Johnny Revicki (Manchester), Jessica Badowski (Meriden), David Nunner (Naugatuck), Erin Campbell, Nick Carrano, Hannah Rubitz, and Robert Williams (New Britain), Cecil Carter and James Hampton III (New London), Iesha M. Rose (Rocky Hill), Matthew Lombardo and Ben Stone-Zelman (West Hartford).
The show continues weekends till July 23 at the Repertory Theatre, 23 Norden St., New Britain. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Individual tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students. To purchase tickets online or learn more visit www.connecticuttheatrecompany.org. Tickets are also available at the door the night of each performance.