Vonni to play Bernadette in Gold Coast season of Priscilla

vonni priscilla
Image: Vonni Brit Watkins, Facebook

Former transgender Les Girls star Vonni will play much loved transgender character Bernadette in an upcoming Gold Coast production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Also in the cast: legendary Aussie actress and showgirl, Carlotta. If that’s not enough — there’s also pop sensation Paulini.

Previously, mostly male actors portrayed Bernadette in productions of the musical.

Vonni said she already lived Bernadette’s life.

“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 lived the life of the person that I’m portraying.”


Vonni said she was also excited that her longtime friend and workmate Carlotta would join her in the show.

“I am absolutely honoured and thrilled – absolutely beside myself to say that I will be playing Bernadette. Bernadette Bassanger’s character was based on Carlotta. Carlotta is a very good friend of mine, we actually lived together for quite a few years in the 80s. I worked with her in the King’s Cross Les Girls. We’re going to be working with each other again – this time on Priscilla. The scenes we share are going to be tremendous fun.”

An iconic moment

Carlotta, who was an inspiration for the original movie version of Priscilla, will play several roles in the production. The legendary performer retired from touring last year after 58 years of shows.

This will no doubt be an iconic and long-remembered moment in Australian musical theatre history. An inspiration for the musical, appearing in the musical.

Also in the show, one of Australia’s finest and most-loved vocalists, Paulini, as lead diva.

Matt Ward, who is bringing Priscilla to the Star Gold Coast, said trans actors were still overlooked for trans roles. But he said Vonni won the role on her merits.

“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.”

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