A “glorious musical adventure about trannies, drag shows, Down Under, and what we will do for love” opens May 27 and runs through July 1. John Fisher, 30-year Haight resident, is directing the musical, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott) with the longest running queer theater in the world (Theatre Rhinoceros) at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St.
The musical is a heart-warming, uplifting adventure about three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever envisioned. With a dazzling array of over-the-top costumes, extraordinary headdresses and a hit parade of dance floor favorites, this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS.
The Musical, which has been produced by the likes of Bette Midler, among others, first premiered at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in 1994 as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. The story follows two drag queens and a transsexual (Tick, Adam and Bernadette), who buy a run-down old bus (they call it Priscilla) and set out on a road trip across the Australian Outback. Along the way, Tick is invited by his ex-wife to perform his drag show at her far-away resort. However, Tick is hesitant to tell his friends, Bernadette (a former performing icon who’s best days are behind her) and Adam (a rambunctious young troublemaker), his own personal reasons for taking the trip. During their journey, the trio encounters an array of Australian citizens and confront homo- and transphobia, while widening comfort zones, finding new horizons and strengthening their own friendship.
The production is even being recognized by Humphry Slocombe with a limited-edition ice cream flavor. To celebrate Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-The Musical, the ice cream shop will serve “Priscilla’s Tim Tam Slam” (Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream, Chocolate Chips, and Crushed Tim Tam Cookies) between June 1-4. Visit the website http://therhino.org/buy-tickets/ for more information or to buy tickets.
Fisher has lived in the Haight since 1987 when he moved into his rent-controlled apartment with his husband. When he’s not performing, directing, or teaching, he’s hiking, reading, traveling, visiting museums, or enjoying the architecture of the Haight Ashbury with his partner, a more reserved personality who works at the Main Library. Though he mainly performs in the Castro and Downtown, Fisher thinks “the Haight is the best neighborhood ever.”
Fisher has performed since his childhood—growing up with a family of scientists and engineers he finally found a creative outlet in school theater and has been performing ever since. He attended school in Berkeley, earning degrees up through a Ph.D. before going on to teach at U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Cruz, Yale School of Drama and the American Conservatory Theatre.
Over the years Fisher has received many grants and awards, including the NEA Grant, GLAAD Media Award for Best Theatre, L.A. Weekly Award for Best Musical and Best Script, Will Glickman Playwright Awards for Joy and Medea: The Musical, BackStage West Garland Award, Cable Car Awards, San Francisco Guardian Goldie Award, S.F. Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant, Zellerbach Grant and ten Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards.
Fisher's plays have been produced in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Haven (Yale) and on HBO as a part of the annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. He writes about his life, politics, and any penetrating thoughts that strike his mind.
In addition to the musical production, Fisher will appear in the outdoor production of Lear! as Lear himself. The show will be held at Yerba Buena Gardens on July 8, 8 p.m. and July 9, 3 p.m. In the production, Shakespeare’s play is reduced to 90 minutes and traverses the plains of Yerba Buena Gardens as it tells the exciting and heart-breaking story of one man’s attempt to divide his kingdom and his family’s gut-wrenching struggle for power and love.
Learn more about John Fisher by visiting his website, www.johnfisher.biz.