PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT – West Hollywood:  The worldwide following for the 1994 classic gay movie, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” certainly extends beyond the gay community.  The story of three loving, bickering, frolicking cross-dressers making their way across the Australian outback in the titular bus was converted to a stage musical in 2006, opening, naturally, in Sydney.  Since then, it had a lengthy run on London’s West End, Bette Midler produced a 2011 Broadway production, it has toured the world, and is now playing regional theatres.  This month, it opens at West Hollywood’s intimate-but-wonderful Celebration Theatre, and I stress that early booking is a must!  This 60-seat venue really gets stretched when they stage a musical, and

 

houses sell out quickly.  The songs are all jukebox favorites, including “It’s Raining Men,” “MacArthur Park,” “Go West,” “I Will Survive,” and a dozen more songs that all of us have danced to.  Laughs, toe-tapping, and perhaps a tear or two.  Celebration Theatre (CelebrationTheatre.org), 2/10 – 3/18.

KINKY BOOTS – Various:  Another film-to-musical gay-themed hit is playing smaller theatres on the west coast this month.  The 2013 Broadway musical received an amazing 13 Tony Award nominations, and won six, including Best Musical and Best Score, composed by Cyndi Lauper.  The show’s script, penned by Harvey Fierstein, was also nominated.  The story follows Charlie Price, a young man who has been raised in the family’s quality shoe factory.  When his father dies, he inherits the company, but also discovers that the craftsmanship that made the shoes salable for decades is no longer valued.  He happens to meet a black drag queen who complains that there are no shoes with strong enough heels for a gal her size.  Charlie’s factory reinvents itself as the manufacturer of knee-high boots for the “larger girl.”  The show is still running on Broadway. Tour stops include Palm Desert McCallum 2/2-4; Costa Mesa Segerstrom 2/6 – 11; Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Center 2/13-14; Phoenix Orpheum 2/16 – 18; Santa Barbara Granada 2/20 – 21; and Thousand Oaks Kavli 2/22-25.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST – San Diego:  What can you say about a script that was first produced in 1895, and is still filling houses around the world today?  Oscar Wilde, imprisoned for his homosexual conduct, wrote the witty piece as a satire of the privileged (ie, non-working) class, and the triviality of their conduct.  Though the language is a challenge  for school and community groups, in the hands of San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, it should be a delight.  Most productions at the Old Globe have a specific “Out at the Globe” performance where gays have a social cocktail hour before the performance.  With this show, that date is February 8, and the sociability should add a nice frosting to the cake.  Old Globe Theatre (TheOldGlobe.org), through 3/4/18.

 

ALLEGIANCE – Los Angeles:  Since publicly coming out and becoming a pop culture hero, George Takei’s name is better known now than when millions watched him each week navigating the Starship Enterprise.  This month, the octogenarian will reprise his role in the musical Allegiance – the role he originated at The Old Globe in 2012 and on Broadway in 2015.  As with the Broadway production and the original cast album, he will be joined by Lea Salonga, the original Miss Saigon.  The musical traces the Kimura family, Japanese-Americans who are interred by the USA during World War II.  Sam Kimura enlists to prove his patriotism, while his sister loudly protests the government’s treatment of her people.  An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves.  Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo (AllegianceMusical.com), 2/21 – 4/1.

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