So for people who know the movie, is it pretty faithful? Or is it changed specifically for Broadway?
The same writer wrote the book for our show that wrote the movie. We have the same costume designer, and everyone that was involved with the movie is also part of the production. It's morphed from its original workshops in Australia, which was over five years ago, to what it is now.
And the production that's playing in London is also different from what we have. It's about 20 minutes shorter here, and the ending is a little different, and all of my music was changed from Kylie Minogue, which was in the musical originally, which replaced ABBA in the movie, is now replaced with Madonna.
So, I sing Madonna songs and she's my obsession, rather than Kylie, just to make it a little more Americanized and accessible to everyone. I love Kylie Minogue, but surprisingly there's a lot of people who don't know who she is here, which is crazy, but she's a much bigger star in Australia and London than she is in the U.S.
And is it difficult for you as an actor to not think of Britney as your obsession during those moments when you're onstage, since you obsess over her in real life, and you have to shift over to Madonna?
(laughs) No, I mean, Britney was the Madonna of my generation, you know, the popular female pop icon, so you just reference those sort of feelings you have for an inspiration and then replace it with her, so it's not too hard to swap out. (laughs) But at least I have a point of reference for it.
I go in the other direction, because I've accepted Bette Midler as my personal diva.
She's one of our main producers on the show...
I know, she's tweeting about you all the time lately.
I know, it's crazy! Growing up watching her version of Gypsy, I never thought she'd be giving me compliments online, but it's wild.
She seemed particularly annoyed about the show not receiving a Tony nomination. Does that sort of thing affect the cast? Or is that some external thing that we're thrusting on the show...
We're really excited that Tony (Sheldon) got a nomination and, of course, it would have been ridiculous if the costumes weren't nominated. But it's always a gamble with a new show. You hope for the best and the more I've been out of school and in this business, you realize it's a sort of calculated, political awards show, and it's more about who's going to make money on what production and, I don't know, it's always a gamble.
I never try to expect anything so I don't get disappointed, but I'm really really excited for Tony Sheldon. He deserves the nomination and I think he deserves to win it. His performance speaks for itself. He's incredible in the show and he's the heart of Priscilla. I'm really, really thrilled for him.
And how hands-on was Bette in the process?
She flew up a bunch of times when we were doing our out of town tryout in Toronto, and she was at every preview performance in New York, and would give her influence and her ideas and opinions on how to tweak things. The show as pretty much set, there were a few things here and there that she felt might work a little better, and she really tried to sit in different places in the audience during the show to see how the crowd was responding to certain jokes. She's really cool, and she's really tiny, but she believes in the show. She believes in the actors. And we hope to be around for a long time.
And what is it like for you, as an out performer, getting to go out onstage in glamorous outfits singing Madonna? That seems like the pinnacle right there.
(laughs) Yeah, it doesn't get much better than that! Every fantasy I had as a child about becoming a performer, this show fulfills in some way. It almost feels like a crazy concert, where you see people flying over the audience wearing crazy outfits, and it's like a giant celebration or party.
Aspects of that are what we get to do every night in our show. I get lowered into the stage for my first entrance and I get to fly out over the crowd in a giant silver stiletto. I mean... (laughs) these are things I don't ever think I'll get to do again in a musical. For my first starring role in a show, to get to do all these crazy things is awesome.