Liza Minnelli held an impromptu press conference Sunday, Jan. 26 outside the Marquis Theatre to deny a New York Post report that her Victor/Victoria co-star Tony Roberts is holding a sick-out to protest flubs she's been making in her performance.
The story wound up competing with the Super Bowl on New York area TV news broadcasts. Quoting unnamed sources, the Post story said Roberts, 57, threw a "hissy fit" because of Minnelli's alleged inability to deliver her lines consistently, and is calling in "sick" until his original star in the role, Julie Andrews, returns on Feb. 4.
Roberts, who has starred on Broadway in Promises, Promises, Sugar and Don't Drink the Water, was unavailable for comment, but Minnelli told reporters waiting for her at the Marquis stage door at Sunday's matinee that Roberts "Two days ago stuck his head in the dressing room door and said 'this is the most exciting time I've ever had in a musical' -- and there are lots of people who witnessed that."
Richard B. Schull, a supporting actor in the show, told CBS-TV news, "The whole cast gets along."
The Post story said, again with unnamed attribution, that Roberts began his sick-out after Minnelli changed a line at the Jan. 23 matinee. Her line is "I'm a second-rate hoofer," but instead reportedly said, "I'm a second rate hooker." Minnelli, 50, took over the role of Victoria Grant from Andrews Jan. 7. Reports that she skipped some rehearsals and was having a generally rocky time settling into the role have been almost daily fodder for New York tabloids.