Onward Victoria

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Onward Victoria
MusicKeith Herrmann
LyricsCharlotte Anker
Irene Rosenberg
BookCharlotte Anker
Irene Rosenberg
BasisLife of Victoria Woodhull
Productions1980 Broadway

Onward Victoria is a musical (1980) with a book and lyrics by Charlotte Anker and Irene Rosenberg, and music by Keith Herrmann.

Its subject is Victoria Woodhull, the 19th-century woman who with her sister were the first women to operate a brokerage firm, at which they became millionaires; and started a newspaper. Woodhull was a proponent for free love and activist for equality of the sexes. Its cast of characters includes Cornelius Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, restaurateur Charlie Delmonico, and Henry Ward Beecher, with whom Woodhull is linked in a fictional romance that leads to the minister being tried for alienation of affections.

This musical originated in 1979 as Unescorted Women, first produced off-off-Broadway by the Joseph Jefferson Theatre Company. With its budget sets and costumes, anachronistic pop score, and camp burlesque-style production numbers (including one in which Woodhull sang the praises of Beecher's physical endowment) intact, headed uptown the following year rechristened Onward Victoria.

After twenty-three previews - and with its closing notice already in place - the Broadway production, directed by Julianne Boyd and choreographed by Michael Shawn, opened on December 14, 1980 at the Martin Beck Theatre, where it ran for one performance. The cast included Jill Eikenberry as Woodhull, Michael Zaslow as Beecher, Ted Thurston as Vanderbilt, Laura Waterbury as Stanton, Dorothy Holland as Anthony, Gordon Stanley as Fleming, and Lenny Wolpe as Delmonico.

Theoni V. Aldredge was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design. A Broadway cast recording was released by Original Cast Records.

Musical Numbers[edit]


Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum, published by St. Martin's Press (1991), pages 240-41 (ISBN 0-312-06428-4)

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