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20 April 2010 @ 10:26 am
Tony Sheldon's mum all-but-confirms he will go to Broadway with the show  
Priscilla Queen of the Desert set to become the queen of Broadway

MUSICAL theatre star Tony Sheldon is set to kick up his platform heels on Broadway in the role of Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert when the Australian musical opens there next March.

Sheldon owned the role of the older transgender character when the stage version of Stephan Elliott's hit film opened in Sydney in 2005.

Priscilla transferred to Melbourne the following year before a return season in Sydney preceded its West End debut in March last year with enhanced sets and costumes.

Sheldon's mother, stage veteran Toni Lamond, confirms Sheldon will open Priscilla on Broadway, most likely at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on West 46th Street.

"I'm so excited," she says. "This is the holy grail. Getting to London was one stop and this is the whole way."

Sheldon was the only original cast member in the London season. Lamond says the producers auditioned widely and had to convince British Actors Equity he was invaluable to the production. Late last year he was recognised with a nomination for an Olivier Award for the role.

Lamond says it has been just as tough to secure his passage to Broadway because he doesn't have a green card.

"Every Australian has to go through this overseas. People think we just march in, but it's terribly, terribly hard," she says.

Original director Simon Phillips, artistic director of the Melbourne Theatre Company, is attached to direct the Broadway version.

It will be produced by the original Australian team led by Back Row Productions.

Sheldon will be joined onstage by American actors Matt Cavenaugh (West Side Story) in the original Guy Pearce role and Will Swenson (Hair) will undertake the Hugo Weaving role.

Sheldon took his final bow on the West End last month.

Lamond says he is on holidays ahead of a publicity tour to Canada, where another production of Priscilla opens in Toronto later this year.

At the Olivier Awards last month, Australian designers Tim Chappel and Lizzie Gardiner won the best costume award for their work on the musical.

Chappel and Gardiner already have shared an Academy Award in 1994 for their creations in the original movie.

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