More than 12,000 people flocked to Priscilla

A whopping 12,446 people danced through the doors of the TSB Showplace for Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

The hit musical closed on Saturday after 17 shows, including a run of full houses in the final week.

New Plymouth Operatic Society’s sales and marketing manager Patrick Landrigan says Priscilla had more people through the doors than their recent productions of Les Misérables, Mary Poppins and Phantom of the Opera.

“New Plymouth Operatic are so lucky to have such exceptional support from our local community,” he says.

“And as long as they keep supporting us, we will keep doing our best to bring them the best shows possible.”

He says the season was packed with attendees who were out for a special occasion, and there was a growing trend of people giving show tickets as gifts.

There was even a couple who celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary by coming to Priscilla, and an entire school of students.

“We were really encouraged when the team from St Mary’s wanted to bring their entire school to see the show.

“They’d said to us they thought the show had such an important message of love and acceptance, and it was an opportunity they didn’t want any of their students to miss.”

Landrigan says about 15 per cent of the overall audience came from outside of Taranaki.

“We know of one couple who came from Palmerston North and drove to New Plymouth just in time for a midweek performance.

“Then there was another lady who had come all the way from Perth to see the show.

“It’s amazing to see the lengths some people have gone to see Priscilla.”

The popularity of the show posed its own problems though, with some patrons complaining they couldn’t get the best seats in the house when they tried to book after opening night.

“Sometimes we just have to laugh off the minor challenges, because the big picture is what counts. And to see the joy on everyone’s faces, both those involved in the show and those who attended each night, it gives you a massive feeling of personal satisfaction,” Landrigan says.