Edge, Q & A + Profiles, Theater

Actor talks touring, Broadway, speedos

A pink bus full of glitter, flamboyant costumes and fabulous shoes is rolling into the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” is running at the Ziff Ballet Opera House from Thursday to Sunday.

The play, which is based on a 1994 Australian cult movie, tells the stories of two drag queens and a transsexual who road trip through the Australian outback. Along the way, they encounter a cast of zany characters, all set to the tune of catchy disco hits.

The Miami Hurricane got to chat with Andrew Chappelle, a member of the ensemble who has also played Eddie in “Mamma Mia” on Broadway.

The Miami Hurricane: Why did you want to get involved with “Priscilla?” What about the show appealed to you?

Andrew Chappelle: I saw “Priscilla” while it was playing in New York and immediately fell in love with the show from beginning to end. I loved the costumes, the story, the choreography; everything was spectacular. I saw it seven times. And I told myself if it ever went on tour I would try my hardest to be a part of it and bam!

TMH: What is it like to play a drag queen/transexual character?

AC: It is so fun to play a drag queen because my entire persona changes. It’s kind of like how Beyonce turns into Sasha Fierce. That is super fun to do every night.

TMH: What are some of the differences between performing for a Broadway show versus a Broadway tour?

AC: On Broadway you can have more of a stable lifestyle. You have your apartment and your life is all set up. On tour, you live in hotels and are in a new city every two to three weeks. On Broadway a lot of people are buying homes, taking their kids to school, taking trips to Connecticut to go apple picking. The younger of us are just enjoying living in New York and trying to get another show. On tour however, you don’t get that stability. Auditioning for other shows is a huge project between figuring out the show schedule, booking a flight etc. Also, touring is exhausting because most times you travel on your day off. If you are doing a show in New York, your day off is completely off.

TMH: What has been the craziest moment, good or bad, of the tour so far? As in “I can’t believe that just happened?”

AC: There have actually been a lot of those moments. With this fabulous show comes many mishaps that happen live. In the number “Material Girl” there are four guys dancing around in tuxedos that get ripped off to reveal tiny little speedos. Sometimes, more clothing comes off than we intend!

TMH: What do you miss most while traveling around the country?

AC: I miss my home and my friends in New York. However, I don’t look at touring as causing me to miss anything. I actually feel so lucky to be able to see so many different parts of the country and bring the message of this show everywhere we go.

April 3, 2013

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.