Oprah Winfrey believed in the powerful message of The Color Purple, Elton John felt Next Fall was a gay love story for our times and the trio of Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith knew Broadway would be richer with the Afro-beats of Fela! And Bette Midler? She loves campy drag queens!
According to the New York Post, The Divine Miss M has become the newest A-list star producer by investing an undisclosed amount of money in the Broadway-bound production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, making her an above-the-title producer on the musical about three drag queens on a road trip. According to the paper, Midler fell in love with the show when she caught the hit production at London's Palace Theatre and aims to be hands-on in helping to shape the $10 million show for Broadway audiences.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is currently in previews in Toronto, where it will play a 12-week pre-Broadway engagement at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Performances on Broadway are scheduled to start on February 28, 2011 at the Palace Theatre. Adapted from the hit movie by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, the musical stars Olivier Award nominee Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, Tony nominee Will Swenson as Tick/Mitzi and Nick Adams as Adam/Felicia.
Midler has a special relationship with drag queens: she clearly adores them, is often impersonated by them and, early in her career, was even mistaken for one. In 2006, the star chatted with ITV about the nightclub act that launched her career at the gay Continental Baths: "I had a friend write jokes for me and I was very au courant with the gay scene and I had the lingo and so they thought, 'Oh look, a drag queen!'"
The report states that Midler will attend rehearsals and note sessions and "will not be shy about expressing her opinions."