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McFadden for Playhouse Priscilla

January 21, 2019 | By | Reply More

Joe McFadden to star in UK tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

An “over the moon” Joe McFadden is to play the lead in the all-new production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, opening this Autumn and touring to the Edinburgh Playhouse in November 2019.

The 2017 Strictly Come Dancing winner and star of Holby City will take on the central role played in the West End and on recent tours by Jason Donovan, while Donovan himself steps out of the limelight and into the producer’s chair.

Joe McFadden

The tour will open for previews in Dartford in September and play a dozen more dates in 2019 including Liverpool, Manchester and Wimbledon before spending Christmas in Brighton. It plays the Edinburgh Playhouse from Tuesday 5 to Saturday 9 November.

McFadden will play Tick, the Sydney drag queen Mitzi with a secret wife and child back home in Alice Springs.

When his wife calls in a favour he enlists the help of a couple of drag queens and they set off in a big pink bus, Priscilla, across the desert to perform in the Alice Springs casino.

McFadden has considerable musical theatre experience in the likes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, as well as strong straight theatre roles, besides his winning stint on Strictly and heart-throb status on Holby City.

“I’m over the moon to be taking on this new and exciting challenge in a musical that I have been a massive fan of for such a long time,” he said.


“I’m looking forward to working with this wonderful production team, including Jason whose guidance I feel especially lucky to have given his previous experience with the production.

“I can’t wait to take the Priscilla bus on the road and have a bonzer time making the role my own!”

Mark Goucher and Jason Donovan with a big-haired drag queen. Pic: Darren Bell.

Mark Goucher and Jason Donovan. Pic: Darren Bell.

Donovan’s co-producer Mark Goucher described McFadden as “great casting for Priscilla”, saying: “He is a very strong musical theatre performer and will bring great charm and integrity to this new production of a great musical.”

The producers of the show, which is based on the Oscar-winning film Priscilla, promise: “more glitter than ever before, a dazzling array of stunning costumes, fabulous feathers and a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, I Love The Nightlife, Finally and many more.”

The creative team was also behind the recent UK tours of Hairspray; with direction by Paul Kerryson, choreography by Tom Jackson-Greaves, designs by Phil R Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith, lighting design by Ben Cracknell and sound design by Ben Harrison.

Jason Donovan said: “So pleased to announce Joe be starring in our production. He’s a down to earth, talented guy who will bring enormous warmth to the role of Mitzi. I can’t wait to see him in heels doing those dance routines…. Awesome.”

The producers have also announced that the tour is to extend into 2020 with dates in Southampton, Plymouth, Nottingham, Dublin, Cambridge, Newcastle, Southend, Sheffield, Carlisle, Ipswich, Leeds, Oxford, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol.

Full listings for the 2020 dates and further casting details for the full tour are still to be announced.


Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA
Tuesday 5 November  – Saturday 9 December  2019
Tickets on sale now from Click here to buy now.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on tour 2019/20:
Thurs 5 – Sat 14 September 2019 Dartford
Orchard Theatre
01322 220000 Book online
Tue 17 – Sat 21 September Bradford
01274 432 000 Book online
Mon 23 – Sat 28 September Rhyl
New Pavilion Theatre
01745 33 00 00 Book online
Mon 30 September – Sat 5 October Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Theatre
08448 717652 Book online
Mon 7 – Sat 12 October Wimbledon
New Wimbledon Theatre
0844 871 7646 Book online
Mon 14 – Sat 19 October Malvern
Festival Theatre
01684 892277 Book online
Mon 21 – Sat 26 October Blackpool
Winter Gardens
0844 856 1111 Book online
Mon 28 October – Sat 2 November Leicester
Curve Theatre
01162 423 595 Book online
Tue 5 – Sat 9 November 2019 Edinburgh
0844 871 3014 Book online
Mon 11 – Sat 16 November Liverpool
08448 713 017 Book online
Mon 18 – Sat 23 November Inverness
Eden Court
01463 234234 Book online
Mon 25 – Sat 30 November Manchester
Palace Theatre
0844 871 3019 Book online
Tue 17 Dec 2019 – Sat 4 Jan 2020 Brighton
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650 Book online


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