If you missed Victor/Victoria, the stage musical comedy that brought Julie Andrews back to Broadway, it's resurfacing on videocassette and DVD, from Image Entertainment, April 4.
The 1995 staging at Broadway's Marquis Theatre was documented for Japanese pay-per-view television, and that presentation will finally get a wide commercial release. It's big news for diehard fans of Andrews, who lamented the subsequent loss of the diva's famed voice (heard in My Fair Lady, Camelot, "The Sound of Music," "Mary Poppins") following a surgical procedure to remove throat polyps.
Broadway's farce-rich Victor/Victoria had laughter and tears associated with it: Drawn from the popular 1982 movie that starred Andrews, under the direction of Blake Edwards, the stage version was also helmed by Edwards, but failed to get major creative-team Tony Award nominations in 1996. It was not nominated for Best Musical. Andrews protested and withdrew her name as a nominee in the Best Actress category.
In addition, composer Henry Mancini died before the production opened, and Frank Wildhorn wrote additional tunes with Leslie Bricusse. Andrews withdrew from a number of performances and Liza Minnelli briefly appeared in the show. Raquel Welch replaced Andrews in 1997. Victor/Victoria closed July 27, 1997.
The musical, about an impoverished female singer who pretends to be a man so she can get work as a female impersonator, played 738 performances at the Marquis. The Broadway and video cast includes Tony Roberts as Toddy, Michael Nouri as King Marchan and Rachel York as Norma.
The score includes "Le Jazz Hot," "Crazy World," "Chicago Illinois" and "Almost a Love Song." Choreography is by Rob Marshall.
Both the videocassette and the DVD version of the home release is in the widescreen "letterbox" format, and the DVD includes a brief biography and filmography of Julie Andrews.
The VHS has Dolby surround sound and the DVD features a Dolby Digital 5.1 multi-channel surround soundtrack.
Both formats have an brief introduction by Andrews and a segment that shows limos pulling up to the theatre and the arrival of stars. Recognizable faces include Barbara Walters, Goldie Hawn, Vanessa Williams, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Chita Rivera, Suzanne Somers, Sherry Lansing (head of Paramount Studios) and Cindy Adams (New York Post gossip columnist).
-- By Kenneth Jones