Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Nullarbor Productions are delighted to announce today the three New Zealand boys who will play the role of Benji in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL for its New Zealand season opening in two weeks’ time.
The boys are nine-year-olds Lukas Maher, 10-year-old Quinn Bevan and 11-year-old Joshua Rose, all from Auckland. They will join the stellar international cast when they arrive in to New Zealand in readiness for the first show on Friday, 14 October.
The boys will rotate the role of Benji who is the son of lead character Tick, and is the real reason Tick convinces his friends Bernadette and Felicia to head off into the desert in a big pink bus (named Priscilla) for a four-week stint as drag artists at a Hotel Casino Resort in Alice Springs — the same resort managed by his estranged wife Marion.
Tick hasn’t seen eight-year-old Benji for years and is nervous about exposing him to his colourful lifestyle, only to be surprised that Marion has raised him to be sweet and open-minded so he’s fully aware and supportive of his father’s sexuality and career.
The boys join one of the strongest casts to have graced The Civic stage, featuring actors from the West End and Broadway, from film and television, pop singers and even Kanye West dancers.
Josh – a year 7 student at ACG Parnell College — likes science, swimming, snorkelling, video games, riding his bike and especially loves to sing, dance and act whenever possible. He has studied musical theatre for the past two years and has appeared in the AGS/EGGS production of Beauty and the Beast, the NYTC production of Beauty & the Beast and ACG Parnell College’s production of Wizard of Oz. He has also done photographic modelling for JK, Farmers, Baby City and Oh Baby magazine (his first billboard when he was 9 months old!).
Quinn is no stranger to the set of Priscilla. In fact, his older brother Kieran landed the same role when Priscilla was last staged in New Zealand eight years ago. Quinn – a year 5 student at Howick Primary School – enjoys Lego, socialising with friends, acting and performing. Quinn recently filmed short film Sparrow, and had a lead role as Jasper in Silo Theatre’s play Medea. Lukas is passionate about performing. He trains in singing, jazz, tap and ballet and is a regular entrant in exams and competitions where he is very successful. His most recent performances include winning the Little Rainbow singing competition to sing solo with the APO, performing with NZ Opera in Tosca, as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol with Opera Factory, singing solo in Evita with AMT/Amici Productions and performing with the RNZB in Wizard of Oz. Lukas has also appeared in several TV commercials.
With 10 years and tens of thousands of kilometres racked up on its worldwide journey from Sydney to London’s West End to Broadway, PRISCILLA the pink bus is looking more magnificent than ever for its triumphant return on 14 October, and the show will run for a strictly limited season. This wildly fresh and funny musical, based on the Oscar-winning film, features a hit parade of dancefloor favourites, over 500 outrageous costumes, 200 extraordinary headdresses and a 10 metre-long customised bus weighing six tonnes as its sparkling centrepiece. PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT is a must-see extravaganza!
The record-breaking stage spectacular that sold 100,000 tickets in the six amazing weeks it was here in 2008 returns to our shores by popular demand, brought by the producers of the smash hit musicals Cats as well as Singin’ In The Rain, The Sound of Music and Annie.
PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT has already been seen by close to 5 million people and grossed in excess of $300 million worldwide to become the most successful Australian musical of all time. Originating and international Producer Garry McQuinn says that the role of Benji presents itself as a wonderful opportunity for a young actor to work with international stars in one of the best known productions in the world.
Fellow producer James Cundall concurs, “Many Kiwi kids advanced their musical theatre careers by being selected to star in our previous productions Annie and The Sound of Music. There are some highly talented young actors out there and we look forward to discovering another star in Benji.”