Original Broadway Poster
|Basis||1982 film Victor Victoria|
|Productions||1995 Minneapolis Tryouts
1998-1999 National Tour
Victor/Victoria is a musical with a book by Blake Edwards, music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and additional musical material (music and lyrics) by Frank Wildhorn. It is based on the 1982 film of the same name which was a remake of the German film comedy Viktor und Viktoria shot by Reinhold Schünzel in 1933 from his own script.
Mancini died before he could complete the music, and Wildhorn was brought in to finish the score. The original Broadway production, in 1995, aroused some mild controversy when the star, Julie Andrews, feeling that the rest of the show had been overlooked, refused her (and the show's only) Tony Award nomination.
A penniless soprano, named Victoria, colludes with a struggling gay impresario to disguise herself as a man named Victor, who entertains as a female impersonator known as "Victoria" - and as a result becomes the toast of Paris. Complications arise when a Chicago mobster sees the act and finds himself attracted to the star.
A stage musical of the film was mooted after the movie's release. Robert Preston and Julie Andrews were meant to star but then Preston pulled out saying there was no way the musical could be profitable. "It's just this big ego trip for Blake," said Preston.
Victor/Victoria premiered in out of town tryouts at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota in June 1995. After another month of tryouts in Chicago, Illinois in August 1995 the musical opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on October 25, 1995 and closed on July 27, 1997 after 734 performances and 25 previews. The show was directed by Edwards and choreographed by Rob Marshall. The original cast included Julie Andrews, Tony Roberts, Michael Nouri, Rachel York, Richard B. Shull, Rob Ashford, and Greg Jbara.
When Andrews received the lone Tony Award nomination for the production, she made headlines when she rejected the honor with the statement, "I have searched my conscience and my heart and find that I cannot accept this nomination." Andrews further stated that she would "stand instead with the egregiously overlooked" cast and crew. The incident stimulated ticket sales for the musical, and Andrews declined to perform at the Tony Awards ceremony, which suffered that year from a lack of star wattage.
During Julie Andrews' four-week vacation in early 1997, Liza Minnelli took over the role. Later Andrews, who boasted a four-octave vocal range, was forced to quit the show permanently when she developed vocal problems. She subsequently underwent surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules from her throat and was left without a singing voice. Her lawsuit against surgeon Stuart Kessler was settled for $20 million. Andrews was replaced by Raquel Welch for the duration of the run.
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1996||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Julie Andrews||Declined|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Rachel York||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Robin Wagner||Nominated|
- MOVIES: EDWARDS' YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY Mann, Roderick. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Nov 1984: x21.
- Simona, Tad."Legit. Regional. 'Victor/Victoria'" variety.com, June 13, 1995
- Marks, Peter. "Adding Drama to a Musical, Andrews Spurns the Tonys", The New York Times, May 9, 1996
- Cagle, Jess and Steve Daly. "The Sound of Mutiny; Tiff with actress Julie Andrews adds to the drama", Entertainment Weekly, issue #329, May 31, 1996