Australian theatre star Tony Sheldon has celebrated the milestone of 2000 shows in Priscilla Queen of the Desert performing as sassy desert queen Bernadette.
The Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical has played in 135 cities in 29 countries around the world, and last month the smash hit show opened in Brisbane for the very first time.
Sheldon returned to reprise the iconic role of Bernadette, which has earned him both Tony and Olivier nominations, for the 2018 Australian tour.
And on Wednesday, the actor celebrated notching up 2000 shows during the matinee performance in QPAC’s Lyric Theatre in Brisbane. Castmate and fellow Queenslander Ray Meagher, who plays Bob, paid tribute to Tony.
Sheldon told QNews Magazine the role of Bernadette is one he will never tire of.
“It’s a road movie so you’re always in a different place, meeting different characters,” he said.
“If I come to the show every night as though I don’t know the story, and just let it happen, the story dictates keeping it fresh.
“That’s how I’ve done it; I keep myself open and let it happen anew every night.
“She’s such a well-rounded character; she’s a mother, a showgirl, a bitch, she’s hilarious, she sings, she dances, she wears fantastic costumes.
“Over 12 years, I’ve found a lot of different aspects to Bernadette.”
Sheldon said he believed the show’s big heart has always been its secret weapon.
“What makes it unique is its scrappy ratbag quality and the otherness about it – not only the characters being exotic, but the locale,” he said.
“People don’t expect the show to be as good as it is, that’s the reason I’ve stuck with it for 12 years.
“There’s always stuff to find; a lot of levels to play, even though the dialogue is minimal and it’s really a string of production numbers.
“If [the audience] are open to it, they take us into their heart.”
Born in Brisbane into one of Australia’s leading theatrical families, Sheldon took to the stage at an early age, joining the cast of Graham Kennedy’s In Melbourne Tonight at the age of seven.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical will sashay out of the Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on Sunday, November 4. Tickets are still available from the QPAC website.