A transgender actor is set to take on the lead role in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert when it bursts on to stage at The Star Gold Coast in July, in what is believed to be a world-first for a theatre production.
Adelaide’s Yvonne Britain, who’s stage name Vonni, has been cast as Bernadette Bassinger, a role usually adopted by male actors.
“I am absolutely honored and thrilled – absolutely beside myself to say that I will be playing Bernadette,” Vonnie said.
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“I was part of Les Girls and Bernadette’s character is a retired Les Girls performer. I’ve toured around Australia, I’ve toured in a bus. I’ve worked at Lasseters Alice Springs, this casino is where they end up. I’ve climbed Ayres Rock. I’ve lived the life of the person that I’m portraying.”
Producer Matt Ward said Vonni was cast following an extensive nationwide search.
“We chose Vonni, not because she was transgender but because she was the best performer for the role. It’s an honour to share the story of Bernadette and it’s important to our team to make casting choices that elevate the humanity of her story,” he said.
Transgender cabaret performer Carlotta, from Sydney’s Les Girls troupe fame, and Australian pop artist Paulini have also been cast in the local production.
“Every song I’m sure each and every person in the crowd is going to know,” Paulini told myGC.
“I’ll be on stage the whole time, performing all of the songs pretty much. These are songs that inspired me growing up, like ‘Shake Your Groove Thing‘ and ‘I Will Survive‘. All of those artists I looked up to when I was a kid. So I am living my dream right now – I cannot wait to just get up there and perform.”
Priscilla: Queen of the Desert runs from 16 July – 7 August at The Star Gold Coast. For more information, visit priscillamusical.com.au