TV copper Ben Richards is to swap his policeman’s helmet for some distinctly more flamboyant attire when he joins the cast of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical on 1 June, replacing Jason Donovan in the role of Tick.
Richards is best known for playing PC Nathaniel Roberts in the long-running TV drama The Bill. His other screen credits include Footballers’ Wives and Holby City, while he has previously been seen on the London stage in productions of Grease, Guys And Dolls, Saturday Night Fever and The Full Monty.
Adapted by Stephan Elliott from his own 1994 film, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical tells the story of two transvestites and a transsexual who hop aboard a battered old bus to take their cabaret act from Sydney into the Australian outback. Hoping for love and friendship, the trio end up finding a whole lot more.
The show premiered at the Palace theatre in March 2009 with Jason Donovan, Tony Sheldon and Oliver Thornton leading the cast. Thornton continues to play Adam, with Richards joining a cast that now also includes Don Gallagher as Bernadette and John Bowe as Bob.
In March the show’s costume designers Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel added a Best Costume Design Laurence Olivier Award to the Oscar they won for the film.
Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical has now extended its stay at the Palace theatre to May 2011.
Another show to extend its booking period is popular musical Grease, which has added nearly a year to its run, with tickets now on sale at the Piccadilly theatre to 3 September 2011. The show currently stars Noel Sullivan and Siobhan Dillon as high school sweethearts Danny and Sandy, with Dancing On Ice judge Robin Cousins making a cameo as Teen Angel until 19 June 2010.