Synopsis

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Victor/Victoria is the story of a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. Julie Andrews who played the lead in the movie is back on Broadway to once again take the lead part of Victor/Victoria. Blake Edwards, her husband has also returned to direct the musical as he did for the motion picture. This story was written by Blake Edwards and music was by the legendary Henry Mancini.

   We start off in a Paris bedroom where Carroll Todd (Toddy to his friends) and his lover Richard are just waking up. While leaving, Richard also takes all of Toddy's money. To get out of debt Toddy get a job at the gay nightclub of Henry Labisse. (Paris By Night) The next day Victoria Grant auditions for a singing job there, Toddy like her, but Labisse rejects them both, and fires Toddy. Toddy is a woman trapped in a man's body and Victoria would rather be a man because of the advantages, as she explains in If I Were a Man. Victoria is going back to her apartment dressed in Richard's clothes, when Richard walks in and insults Toddy. Victoria punches him in the nose and Richard leaves thinking Victoria was a man. Toddy then get a great idea: cutting Victoria's hair and strapping down her bosom, they could pass her off as a man who impersonates women. Victoria is opposed to the idea, but Toddy just says Trust Me and that was that. Toddy takes Victoria to Andre Cassell, Paris's leading agent. Of course to Cassell, Victoria's real name is Count Victor Grazinsky. When Victor hits a G-sharp, Cassell immediatly takes him in. Victor opens to a sold-out audience and sings Le Jazz Hot!, which makes Paris audiences think Victoria really is a man.

   Attending the performance are the Chicago ganster King Marchan along with his blond brassy girl Norma, and Squash, his loyal bodyguard. King is not convinced that Victor, or Victoria, could actually be a man. He sets out on his own mission to proves he is really a she. To test this theory he has Norma dance the Tango with Victor to see if he can lead. (The Tango/Paris By Night) Of course, Victor passes with flying colors. The real reason King wants to succeed on this mission is because he finds Victor attractive as a woman. At the four-star hotel, where Victor and Toddy are staying, Norma, King, and Squash happen to be right next door. Norma tries to seduce King with the song Paris Makes Me Horny, but fails. Victoria is unhappy because she likes King, but she is trying to convince him that she is a man! This brings Victoria to sing Crazy World.

   In the beginning of Act 2, Victor is having even greater success with Paris audiences and we see her in action as she sings Louis Says. Norma is unhappy because she is being sent back to Chicago because King likes Victor, which still troubles him (King's Dilemma). Victor, King, and Toddy go to dinner and then to Labisse's nightclub. Labisse does not believe that Victor is a man either and he tries to prove it by asking Victor to sing a song. Toddy comes to the rescue and they sing You and Me. When Richard arrives and Victor trips him, a major brawl starts which is broken up by the police. After Victor and King get away, King kisses Victor saying that he doesn't care if he is a man. Victoria tells King that she is not a man, but he still doesn't care. (Paris By Night (Reprise)) In the hotel room, Squash barges in on King and Victoria in bed. Before King can tell Squash the truth about Victoria, Squash admits that he is gay. Victoria and King contemplate being seen as two men in Almost a Love Song.

   In Chicago, Norma is trying to outperform Victor by singing in a nightclub. (Chicago, Illinois). She tells King's partner Sal that King has fallen for another man. Sal cannot believe it and immediately goes to Paris to confirm this rumor. After all, the mob does not approve of gay lifestyles. Meanwhile Toddy and Squash are living it up in bed, and King and Victoria are trying to not be seen together in public (Living In the Shadows). Victoria has decided she no longer wants to be a man. Toddy agrees the time is right to end this sham. Sal and Norma arrive in Paris and King admits he loves Victor. Just in time, Victor takes Norma in the bedroom and proves to Norma that Victor is really a woman. Norma is horrified. Outside, sitting on the window sill is Labisse, trying to expose Victor. In Victor's farewell appearance (Victor/Victoria), Labisse is ready to expose this fraud. Victoria had seen Labisse at the hotel room, so Toddy has a great idea. When the time is right, he will replace Victoria in a flash, and Labisse will look like a fool. In the end it works and we have two loving couples: King and Victoria, and Toddy and Squash. I know this play sounds very bad, but it truly isn't. Julie Andrews and Norma (played by Rachel York) bring it all together to make this one of the most humorous shows I've seen. Julie Andrews had made this role her own, and now it would seem strange to see anybody else in the role, her beautiful singing voice seal this one up. Rachel York deserved a Tony Award for her portrayal of Norma, she was always there to provide humor when it was needed. This play is one of the funniest, livliest plays I've seen in a long time.



- Jason Olson (61180@cmgate.com)



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