Why Vice Ganda wasn't cast in 'Priscilla' musical

By Jude Cartalaba

Posted at Apr 10 2014 09:25 PM | Updated as of Apr 11 2014 05:25 AM

Red Concepcion, Leo Valdez and Jon Santos in "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Photo: Handout

MANILA, Philippines – Comedian Vice Ganda was originally being considered to star in the upcoming production of the Broadway musical "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," which is set to open at the Newport Performing Arts Theater (NPAT) in Resorts World Manila next month.

In an interview, theater veteran and NPAT artistic director Michael Williams confirmed that the popular "It's Showtime" host was initially being eyed to be part of the show.

This musical, which is based on the 1994 film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," tells the story of two drag queens and a transsexual, who have been contracted to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the Australian Outback.

However, because of Vice Ganda’s hectic schedule, which would have affected rehearsals, the popular TV and movie star was unable to join the musical.

In late February up to the middle of March, Vice Ganda took his "I-Vice Ganda Mo 'Ko" concert on a tour of the United States. The same show is also set to tour Europe later this month.

"Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" will open on May 9.

“Vice is very much in demand. And as such, he has many other commitments. If we were to have him in our show, the demands on him from our production must be practical and realistic," Williams explained.

Williams revealed that Vice Ganda would have played the role of Miss Understanding in the musical -- a part which will now be played by Williams.

Leading the all-Filipino cast is Leo Tavarro Valdez, Jon Santos and Red Concepcion. They are joined by Bituin Escalante, Lani Ligot, Timmy Canlas, Pinky Marquez as Shirley and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo.

The musical features Tina Turner’s "What’s Love Got To Do With It?," Alicia Bridges’s "I Love The Nightlife," Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive," The Weather Girls’ "It’s Raining Men," Peaches and Herb’s "Shake Your Groove Thing" and other disco hits.

Veteran director Jaime Del Mundo, fresh from his work on last year's "The Producers" and "The Bluebird of Happiness," directs "Priscilla," which won the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.