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Queens of the Outback Bringing Fabulous To A Town Near You

queens of the outbackGlitz, glamour and a soundtrack of incredible music are just a few of the experiences in store for audiences attending the 2014 mash-up musical Queens of the Outback.

This incredible musical inspired in the tradition of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, is an unforgettable drag show kicking up its heels at regional centres around the country. The tour kicked off in February this year and has already being selling out theatres and receiving rave reviews. Now, the promoters have just added a new string of dates.

When it comes to putting on legendary drag shows, Australia is one of the best, think the 1960s iconic Les Girls and the enigmatic Carlotta, so it’s no surprise that this new original musical is already being welcomed with opened arms and standing ovations. Producer, creator, choreographer and performer Simon Vowles – along with promoter Andrew Malouf – has been solidly working on the concept for the past nine months, penning the story, organising the soundtrack and the musical mash-up, casting the perfect performers for the roles and much more. No stranger to working on massive shows – Simon has previously been involved with Time Warp, Westside Story, Chicago and Grease – this was the first time he had undertaken all the roles, at once, by himself. It’s certainly been a labour of love creating a full show, complete with extravagant costumes, changing background footage and an incredible soundtrack that includes music from almost every genre. Simon has been working seven days a week to get the show off the ground and it’s certainly all been worth it. The show’s soft opening debut in Victoria on the Australia Day long weekend played to a packed house and rave reviews from audiences diversely aged ten to 70.

“It is really fun,” says Simon. “I love big costumes, I love the witty humour. There is such a fun element in this show and we’ve catered to everybody, straight people, gay people, everything in between people, and to every [musical] genre. My three words for this show are fun, fast and fabulous. It is a mash-up musical and for anyone who loves Glee or the Pitch Perfect type movies, this caters for everybody. It is layered music on music, it’s all very fast. I’ve tried to cover a whole variety of music genres so that everyone can feel a part of it.”

Queens of the Outback is much as the name suggests… some fantastic drag queens performing in the outback of Australia. The storyline is simple but addictive, three drag queens pack up their wares to head across the outback to perform at one of their daughter’s 16th birthday parties. That’s not the half of it though, there are some hilarious experiences along the way including a temporary imprisonment, breakdowns, a little love story and many a minibar to be emptied. It’s a show jam-packed with fishnets, feathers, sequins and all things fabulous. There is also a huge amount of video footage to help set the scene as the queens hit the outback (and beyond…)

As for the music, Simon wasn’t joking when he said there was something for everyone. The soundtrack is incredibly diverse, with a mash-up of songs from Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner and even, since it’s an Australian musical, a little bit of Cold Chisel. “Because when you think big fabulous frocks, you think Jimmy Barnes… right?” laughs Simon. Songs such as Dancing Queen, I Will Survive, Love Generation, We Are Family, Sweet Dreams, Ticket To Ride, Leaving on a Jet Plane and Khe Sanh are performed live by the talented cast.

It was important for Simon that the show is performed with live vocals and not mimed like a lot of drag shows. “It’s important that it turns it [the show] into a musical, not just a drag show,” says Simon. “It is more dramatic performing live and more personal with the audience. It is quite challenging for some of the guys vocally, but they are amazing. There have been so many comments like ‘you all have such beautiful voices, can you sing a few more songs’…”

It’s no surprise the cast are getting rave reviews, they were all hand-picked by Simon and have an incredible pedigree in the performing arts under their belts. Their ability and versatility sees many embody multiple characters and roles within the show, and Simon is a perfect example of this). Unlike many producers and choreographers, Simon is also taking on an additional role and performing alongside the cast in the show. Simon (cast as character ‘Simoans Luvzit’) has toured internationally for many years with the likes of acclaimed theatre shows Happy Days and Grease. He played the lead of ‘Frank’n’furter’ in the regional tour of Timewarp and has recently finished up a two-year stint with the Venetian Casino in Macau as their resident choreographer.

Joining Simon on stage are Australian performance royalty. Stand-up comedian Anna Burgess (‘Shazza’ | ‘Sargent Tittman’ | ‘Gwen Dillion’ | ‘Geraldine’) is a recognisable face from Australian television appearing on shows such as Rove Live, AFI Awards, Good Morning Australia, Starstruck, Australian Idol and Postcards. She was the on-air choreographer for the final series episode of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ in 2009 and has also toured in numerous live theatre shows. Peter Harrington Olsen (‘Blackbutt’ | ‘Daz’ | ‘Michael Jackson’) is a familiar name on the musical touring circuit, being part of Hairspray The Musical, Fame The Musical and Grease The Arena Spectacular. He’s also been part of shows such as Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever thanks to his dancing prowess.

Aaron Taylor (‘Frayda Cocks’) has also appeared in numerous Australian productions including Bare. He has also held the coveted position of artist-in-residence at the Venetian Macau Resort. Leonie Lee (‘Office Hancuff’ | ‘Ivana Kutchacockoff’ | ‘Britney’) is reputed for not only choreography, but also performing in one of the country’s most popular 80s tribute shows Stand and Deliver. She has also featured in all-girl rock outfits Sticks and Girl Mansion, has toured internationally and has even joined the Vegas Pussycat Dolls’ inspired show Dirty Little Secret as a guest singer.

Justin Clausen (‘Emma Roids’) is an international cabaret performer who kicked off his career training with the Young Australian’s Broadway Chorus. He’s also trained with the renowned Atlantic Theatre Company in New York. He’s performed both in Australia and overseas, including a special runs of his one-man show at New York’s iconic Don’t Tell Mama venue and The Duplex. There will also be the occasional guest star joining the cast along the tour.

There is no doubt Queens of the Outback is going to be one of those unforgettable musicals that goes down in Australian folklore. If you’re a musical fan, a mash-up fan or you just love music and great entertainment, then this show is definitely for you. Simon says he and the cast can’t wait to get out to regional Australia and have some fun. “Get those heels out of the back of the closet, dress up for the evening or just coming along for a bit of fun,” he says. Queens of the Outback is touring regional Australia now…

MAY 2014 

Wednesday 14th May 2014

Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre, Mt Gambier SA 

www.countryarts.org.au | (08) 8723 8741

 

Thursday 15th May 2014

Hopgood Theatre, Noarlunga SA 

www.countryarts.org.au | (08) 8207 3977

 

Saturday 17th May 2014

Civic Centre, Broken Hill NSW 

www.facebook.com/civic.centre.79 | (08) 8080 3575

 

Monday 19th May 2014

Civic Hall Nautilus Theatre, Port Lincoln SA 

www.civichall.com.au | (08) 8683 5088

 

Tuesday 20th May 2014

Middleback Theatre, Whyalla SA 

www.countryarts.org.au | (08) 8644 7300

 

Wednesday 21st May 2014

Northern Festival Centre, Port Pirie SA 

www.countryarts.org.au | (08) 8633 8500

 

Thursday 22nd May 2014

Chaffey Theatre, Renmark SA 

www.countryarts.org.au | (08) 8586 1800

 

Friday 23rd May 2014

Mildura Arts Centre, Mildura VIC 

www.milduraartscentre.com.au | (03) 5018 8330

 

Saturday 24th May 2014

Eastbank Centre, Shepparton VIC 

www.riverlinksvenues.com.au | (03) 5832 9511

 

JUNE 2014 

Thursday 5th June 2014

West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul VIC 

www.wgac.com.au | (03) 5624 2456

 

Friday 6th June 2014

Premiere Function Centre, Traralgon VIC 

www.premcorp.com.au | (03) 5174 7411

 

Saturday 7th June 2014

Bairnsdale RSL, Bairnsdale VIC 

www.rslbairnsdale.com.au | (03) 5152 3928

 

Friday 13th June 2014

Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club, Wonthaggi VIC 

www.wonthaggiworkmens.com | (03) 5672 1083

 

** more dates to be announced in the coming weeks

*** refer to individual venues for ticket pricing details


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