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    Interview with Bryan West of Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical

    Acclaimed out actor Bryan West has a home in Brooklyn with his boyfriend, but we are lucky to have him in San Francisco as one of the stars of Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, which runs from August 21-31 at the Orpheum Theatre. In a nutshell, the show is about two drag queens and a transsexual who get a cabaret gig in the middle of the desert. West plays one of the drag queens, Adam/Felicia.

    “Felicia is definitely bitchy, overly confident and naively endearing,” West told the Bay Times. “You’ll roll your eyes and then laugh at what she has to say. I love playing this character because she’s so out there. The costumes are crazy and there are more one liners than I’ve ever had in my life!”

    That’s saying a lot, as West is no stranger to show biz. His first job was singing country music in Nashville, opening for Tammy Wynette. He was just 16 at the time. West later joined a pop band in Germany before heading back to the states and to Broadway. He has performed in several well-known shows, including Hairspray, Wicked and Legally Blond.

    Priscilla, he says, is “the nearest and dearest show to my heart that I’ve ever done, partly because I was in the original show in New York, so I feel like it is my baby. My character is so outrageous that I feel like I’m more boring in real life than on the stage.”

    One reason is drag, which he never did before the show. He likens it to “a suit of armor. You feel very empowered when you have it on.”

    West, who is also a gay rights activist, uses much of his positive energy to give back to the community. For over nine years, he has helped with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nation’s leading industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. During a run of Hairspray, he helped to auction off a wig. For Priscilla, a backstage tour was offered during the live auction. “I was on stage,” he said, “and I could hear, ‘Three thousand!’ It was Shirley MacLaine. We didn’t even know she was at the show.”

    The touring cast and crew have been on the road for about 9 months, stopping at 18 or so cities thus far. West isn’t jaded about all of the travel, and is looking forward to visiting San Francisco restaurants, clubs and more from his Castro base. You might not see him on a tour of Alcatraz, though.

    “I’ve never been to Alcatraz,” he said. “I’m afraid that if I go out there, they won’t let me back on the mainland. They’ll say I have to stay there.”

    We wouldn’t mind keeping handsome and talented West! But see him while you can at the Orpheum.

    Ticket info:, or call 1-888-746-1799.