I Will Survive finalist Mike Snell was mesmerised by the incredible colours of the Australian outback.
“One minute you see the red earth of the desert and then you go through a really green section. But next it’s orange and then you witness a sunset that’s purple. You think that the Australian outback is going to be dull but it’s so colourful. And then mix that with 12 guys taking a road trip on a bus called Priscilla and it’s so exciting,” said Mike.
“This was the heart of Australia and we saw some of the most breath-taking scenery – especially the Breakaways which was just outside Cooper Pedy. The 360 degree views were amazing. We sang in the middle of desert and performed in these remote locations. We put everything into this program to showcase the beauty of the outback.”
The Network 10 program follows in the footsteps of the hit Australian film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, where drag queens take a road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs. However rather than just a journey of self discovery, on the television series, the winner performs in the Broadway stage production.
Twelve contestants departed on the Priscilla bus from the famed Imperial Hotel in Sydney several months ago and along the way, the budding stars travelled through such towns as Dubbo, Cobar and Hermannsburg.
For Mike, who notably danced with Kylie Minogue and performed with Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz, it was Broken Hill that was the most inspiring destination.
“We stayed at the Palace Hotel, which is an iconic location from the film – every wall is painted as a mural. We did a group performance in the ballroom to I love the Night Life,” said Mike.
“I was in the elimination round in Broken Hill and faced with losing that Broadway dream – so what I was experiencing at that time was really special. We hung out with the locals and we may have been dressed up in drag but everyone was so friendly. I really loved Broken Hill.”
On the road, it was the drive between Broken Hill in New South Wales and Port Augusta in South Australia that Mike thought was the most scenic.
“We drove from Broken Hill which was in the middle of nowhere, then suddenly we saw greenery and then into Port Augusta on the coast. It reminded me of how much beauty is on our doorstep. There are some spectacular places that we went on the show.”
When not working, Mike loves chilling on the beach at Byron Bay. But unfortunately, the beach will have to wait, as he’s currently performing in the stage production of Legally Blonde in Sydney.
“I’m playing the role of the sexy UPS Delivery Guy, Kyle. The show is going really well. We received rave reviews.”
To pursue Mike’s dream of becoming a musical theatre star, he intends to return to New York, which is the location of the final episode of I Will Survive that screens tonight on Network 10.
“The show gave me the opportunity to travel to LA, Vegas, NY and to meet important people along the away. If I win tonight, I want to use the money to get back to New York and seek out a role on Broadway. This has been my dream since I was four,” he said.
“And when flying from Australia, I’ll stop off in Barcelona. I've never been to Europe – so I’d love to see the Gaudi architecture. There are so many places I want to go… France, the Greek Islands, Sweden, Berlin… the list goes on…”
To see Mike in the hit musical Legally Blonde in Sydney, let your local Escape Travel consultant arrange your flights, accommodation and theatre tickets.