HOUSTON - Theater Under The Stars (TUTS) has suffered yet another blow to its long-awaited revival of Victor/Victoria. Anthony Newley, who was supposed to play Carroll "Toddy" Todd, is undergoing cancer treatment. Too weak for the rigors of 8 shows a week, the multi-talented creator of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off has been replaced by Barry Williams, best known as big brother Greg on TV's The Brady Bunch.
The dates for what will be the first post-Broadway staging of Victor/Victoria remain the same: May 10 - 30. Though there isn't much time to prepare, nobody is panicking, for Williams is a musical theater veteran, having starred in such regional productions as They're Playing Our Song, Oklahoma!, I Do! I Do!, The Music Man, and Man of La Mancha. Early in his career he appeared on Broadway in the title role of Pippin, and most recently he was in the first national touring company of City of Angels. Williams is known by TUTS audiences for his 1981 star turn in Grease.
As the charming ne'er-do-well Toddy, Williams joins a feature bill led by original Broadway cast members, minus one most conspicuously. Anne Runolfsson, who undertook the titular character(s) more than 100 times during matinees and as standby for Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, and Raquel Welch, now has the gender-bender all to herself. Michael Nouri is once again King Marchan, the dashing gangster. Tara O'Brien, who made her Broadway debut as the Street Singer and moved into the role of Norma, King's jealous tootsie, returns as the possessive tart. And Mark S. Hoebee, who assisted director Blake Edwards in New York, directs.
Since the 1996 - 1997 season, TUTS had been promising that Andrews would reprise her Victor/Victoria role(s) in an exclusive production for the Houston troupe and its sister organization, Fifth Avenue Musical Theatre Company in Seattle. After numerous postponements, which cost much in credibility as well as economics, Andrews finally bowed out of her commitment last month, reportedly due to complications from throat surgery.
Victor/Victoria, presented by Theatre Under The Stars, plays the Music Hall May 10 - 30. For tickets, $22.50 - $69.50, call (800) 678-5440