My Week: Jason Donovan

The star of the new musical production of 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert' describes how his opening week has exceeded all expectations
Click to follow
The Independent Online


I've been rehearsing my role playing the drag queen Tick for the stage show of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre, so I'm trying to keep myself as fit as possible. I cycle into work, stopping for a wheatgrass juice from the Fresh and Wild shop in Soho. It's press night this evening, which is always a little scary, but it goes really well and everyone seems to enjoy themselves. Even though it's press night, the Cambridge Circus theatre is peppered with punters as well and the audience is just fantastic.


The only time I get to see my kids at the moment is at 6.30 in the morning, so I get up with them and walk them to school. The reviews are in from last night and we come out pretty well, so I'm happy. I have a swim and a steam to relax and then head to the theatre for 2.30 in the afternoon. Getting ready for the show doesn't take that long, considering we're playing drag queens. The eye make-up is a mask so it's not a huge effort. I wear a lot of base and do a full body shave, though; I thought waxing would be a little bit too painful.

Opening night doesn't go badly, but, funnily enough, it is tougher than the press night and the crowd seems a little less buoyant that we expected. I suppose more of my peers and industry people are here and that makes me pretty nervous. After the show my agent, close friends and the casting director come back to my room for drinks. Then we go to the official party and I do a bit of press work. I'm not a fan of after-show parties because I find it's a bit like being in a goldfish bowl. Tonight is a bit like that but I have a pretty good time and get home about 2am.


I sleep in, then do boring things around the house like pay bills. I catch up with my dad in Australia on the phone and tell him what's been going on. Tonight the show is a far more relaxed experience. It's really hard performing every night and I'm starting to feel that now. We might have opened only this week but we've been working on this show since January, and it is tiring. However, the fact that it's such an uplifting, feel-good show helps to keep your energy up.


It's my two children's Easter bonnet parade this morning so I go down to their school, then I have a sleep at home in the afternoon. In the evening performance we have a few problems with the bus, Priscilla. It's basically a million and a half pounds' worth of computer so it can be a bit temperamental. When I get in I have a glass of wine and mange to get eight hours' sleep as the kids are now on holiday.


In the morning I do some preparation for my Sunday evening radio show and then a voice-over for a PlayStation game called Buzz. I have an early dinner before it's back to the theatre again. I've had some ups and downs in my career, and while I don't feel like this is a comeback as such, I feel there is a sense of goodwill and I've delivered what I needed to deliver. People have embraced what I'm doing in the show and I feel positive about my work at this stage of my life and I haven't felt that for a long time. It is seriously exhausting, though. There is nothing easy about being this camp.