She's a woman playing a man playing a woman -- and one hopes love will keep them together!
The character is Victoria Grant, a down-and-out singer who becomes a sensation by masquerading as a female impersonator. The show is Victor/Victoria, a long-running but troubled Broadway musical about to start its national tour. The actress is Toni Tennille.
Yes, that Toni Tennille, of "Captain & Tenille" fame. She and her husband, Daryl Dragon achieved pop stardom in 1975 with Neil Sedaka's "Love Will Keep Us Together" and followed that up with such chart-toppers as "Shop Around," "Come In From The Rain," and, of course, "Muskrat Love."
Since then, cabaret and concert turns have been the mainstay of Tennille's career, but Victor/Victoria is far from her first theatrical gig. After studying classical piano as a youth, she joined CA's South Coast Repertory and appeared in such roles as Lizzie in The Rainmaker and Nurse Ratched(!) in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Recent roles include a Los Angeles mounting of the Broadway revue, Stardust.
Still married to the Captain (love has kept them together), Tennille serves as the Governor's Ambassador to Arts for the State of Nevada. As for Vic/Vic the 40-week tour starts in Portland, OR, Sept. 8. A spokesperson for executive producer Ken Gentry (of NETworks) told Playbill On-Line (Mar. 5) auditions for other roles are being held soon, and that the show may hire another star. Gentry's NETworks is co producing the tour with Jeriko.
Based on the Blake Edwards film of the same name, Victor/Victoria features a book by Edwards and a score by Leslie Bricusse (lyrics) and the late Henry Mancini. Songs include "Le Jazz Hot" (from the film), "Paris By Night" and "Paris Makes Me Horny."
Here are the tour dates (as of May 15):
Reno, NV (Sept. 1-6)
Portland, OR (Sept. 8-13)
Costa Mesa, CA (Sept. 15-20)
Omaha, NE (Sept. 22-27)
Grand Rapids, MI (Sept. 29-Oct. 4)
Chicago, IL (Oct. 6-11)
Pittsburgh, PA (Oct. 13-18)
Milwaukee, WI (Oct. 20-25)
Norfolk, VI (Oct. 27-Nov. 1)
New Orleans, LA (Nov. 3-8)
Tampa, FL (Nov. 10-15)
Miami, FL (Nov. 17-22)
Palm Beach, FL (Nov. 24-29)
Orlando, FL (Dec. 1-6)
The Broadway production of Victor/Victoria closed July 27, 1997 after 738 performances at the Marquis Theatre. Star Julie Andrews was a big box office draw, but various forced her to miss an increasing number of performances (and cancel a limited, post-Broadway tour). Andrews left the Broadway production and was replaced by Raquel Welch, who was initially under consideration for the national tour. Variety reported that at Vic/Vic's Broadway closing, the production had recouped less than half its initial $8.5 million investment. Producer Tony Adams told Playbill On-Line that he expected the show to go into the black once the tour had been completed.