Ms. Midler said she was among those advising that a musical about two drag queens and a transsexual on a road trip didn’t need extra raciness or profanity. One common obscenity, for instance, is used about a dozen times in the Broadway version, down from 18 elsewhere.
“You still get the flavor that has always been part of ‘Priscilla,’ but it’s not quite as down and dirty, not as in your face so much so that you might pull back,” Ms. Midler said in an interview. “It manages to have all the fun of camp without too much of the dark side of camp and drag. Which for Broadway, I think, is a good thing.”
But this is also an era when Broadway productions with gay themes are packaged as family shows, so much so that the casual observer might not have realized that the main characters in the recent play “Next Fall” or the current revival of “La Cage aux Folles” were gay lovers.
The creators and producers of “Priscilla” spoke at length about how their show is about families. “All along we’ve wanted the audience to go away with a greater appreciation for tolerance and a greater appreciation for family,” Mr. Scott said. “But first you have to get the audience to come to your show, and I think we’ve found ways to do that.”
Much of the main advertising has been as comely as possible, featuring the beautiful women — actual women — who play the divas, supporting characters who deliver some of the songs. Mr. Phillips said he opted against extensive marketing with images of the three male leads in drag because “drag is incredibly difficult to photograph.”
FACT: DRAG QUEENS ARE ACTUALLY VAMPIRES