Quote of the Day: Your problem, Mr. Marchan, is that you are too preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another. Victor’s line in Victor/Victoria, book by Blake Edwards, Music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, additional music by Frank Wildhorn.
Most people have heard of the musical Victor/Victoria. Some have seen the movie starring Julie Andrews, but few have seen the stage adaptation. It’s not often produced. I don’t know why. It’s beautiful, thought-provoking, sexy, glitzy, and filled with marvelous jazz music (I mean, Henry Mancini, how can you go wrong). If you are in the Bloomington area of Minnesota, you can catch it at Artistry MN through May 5, 2019.
You know the description, it’s a story about a woman pretending to be a man playing a woman. Victoria can’t get a gig as a female soprano. She drops into the “Gay Paree” club, penniless and looking for work, when she bumps into an old friend, Toddy. He helps her redefine herself and her character and suddenly he/she is the talk of the town, quickly rising to stardom. The catch is that King Marchan finds himself attracted to her, but thinks it’s a him, and is confused by his own feelings. Victor needs to keep up his persona to get gigs. Victoria has feelings for Marchan, but can’t show them. Meanwhile Marchan’s sweetheart Norma is on to him, and many ridiculous antics ensue.
I love the music of Victor/Victoria! Anita Ruth conducts the eight piece pit orchestra (which is cleverly tucked behind the set, just visible enough), and they are excellent. The exciting score, the bold notes of the horns and saxophone, the delicious jazzy chords on the keyboard, strings, and even an accordion, and that awesome beat give this show sex appeal. The dancers are marvelous. My favorite number was Le Jazz Hot. I’d go back and watch it again just for that number alone. The set (designed by Jeff Brown) lent itself well to the dance numbers and movement. The split stage in the hotel scenes is also clever, and of course the lighting is critical for focus. Costumes by Ed Gleeman were gorgeous. Paul Bigot is the wig master (in all three shows I saw over the weekend!).
Ann Michels is marvelous as Victor/Victoria, with a bit of a nod to Julie Andrews, mimicking her voice a bit in the dialogue, but making the songs all her own. What range she has, from the low sexy notes to that high Bb that “shatters glass!” Rich Hamson plays Toddy, a clever and funny friend who is also searching for the right match. Shad Olsen is delicious as King Marchan. Emily Scinto plays Norma with great humor, strength, and scene stealing magic. Eric Smedsrud surprises us all with his character and vocal chords. Leslie Vincent is the brassy and observant Henrietta LaBisse, club owner. Brandon A. Jackson’s vocals are also sweet and smooth. So lovely to listen to all the music. The ensemble fills the stage with grace and gorgeous sound. Michael Matthew Ferrell did a fantastic job directing and choreographing this exciting show.
Victor/Victoria was on my must-see list this Spring. Dig out from our annoying April snowstorm, and go see this show. It is sure to delight, entertain, and give you a few things to think about. Playing through May 5, 2019 at Artistry MN in Bloomington, MN.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Why do women need to hide their femininity to achieve success? Think of authors who use pseudonyms, or just their initials, so people will buy/read their books. Why do we feel like we need to be more like a man to get equal pay/respect? Aren’t we all a little too preoccupied with gender stereotypes?
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