Book by Blake Edwards based on his 1981 film Victor/Victoria. Music by Henry Mancini (Music for TRUST ME, PARIS MAKES ME HORNY, LOUIS SAYS and LIVING IN THE SHADOWS by Frank Wildhorn; Music for WHO CAN I TELL? by LEslie Bricusse). Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. The original Broadway production opened on 25 October 1995 and was directed by Blake Edwards, with choreogrpahy by Rob Marshall. The production closed on 27 July 1997, running for a total of 734 performances.
Synopsis and Musical Numbers
In Chez Lui, a gay club on the Left Bank of Paris, Carroll Todd is holding court (PARIS BY NIGHT). Business isn’t exactly booming and, when Toddy insults a group of customers, including his old flame, Richard, he is threatened with immediate dismissal by the club’s extremely high-strung owner, Labisse. Toddy makes the mistake of trying to help a destitute soprano named Victoria who has come to audition and an enraged Labisse fires him and tosses them both out on the street. Victoria has nowhere to go and Toddy offers her the modest comfort of his tiny flat, where they hit it off instantly. They muse on what it would be like to be the opposite sex; Victoria is sure that she’d be better off as a man (IF I WERE A MAN). To demonstrate, she dons some of Richard’s clothing. When Richard shows up to claim his belongings, he becomes jealously hostile and Victoria socks him and throws him out. This “macho” display sparks Toddy’s imagination. He hatches a scheme: Victoria could become a man but to capitalize on her singing ability she would be a female impersonating-man. “His” name will be Count Victor Grazinsky, a Polish aristocrat. Victoria is skeptical but Toddy is enthused (TRUST ME!).
Toddy introduces his new “lover” Victor to his impresario friend Cassell, and soon “he” is the toast of the Paris café scene (LE JAZZ HOT). Victor’s gender is unquestioned by all except a visiting gangster from Chicago named King Marchan. He is somewhat of an expert on the fairer sex and assures his vivacious but intellectually challenged girlfriend, Norma, and his loyal bodyguard, Squash, that no man could be as convincingly feminine as Victor. To prove his point, he arranges a meeting with Victor backstage and later at the opening night party sends Norma to dance with him (THE TANGO). Victor passes this test with flying colors and, back at the hotel, King struggles with opposing forces: a newly libido-charged Norma, fresh from her tango with Victor (PARIS MAKES ME HORNY) and his uncomfortable feelings for a man named Victor. Things are equally topsy-turvy in the adjoining suite, where Victoria confesses to Toddy her attraction to King and her frustration at having to hide both her feelings and her identity (CRAZY WORLD replaced by WHO CAN I TELL? when Liza Minnelli played the role).
Meanwhile, Victor is still wowing them in Paris (LOUIS SAYS – dropped during the run of the show and replaced with ATTITUDE). Having sent Norma packing back to Chicago, King determines to confront his doubts about himself and Victor once and for all (KING’S DILEMMA). A night out on the town with Victor and Toddy is planned and, when dinner yields no fresh insight, they retire to Chez Lui for a nightcap. Labisse has his own suspicions about Victor and invites him to sing. In the middle of a hastily improvised duet with Toddy (YOU & ME), Toddy’s old friend Richard rudely interrupts and Victor again responds with manly force. A brawl ensues and King and Victor escape to the street, where the now thoroughly aroused and perplexed King succumbs to his attraction and kisses Victor. He doesn’t even seem fazed when Victoria confesses her true gender. They kiss again in the romantic square outside the club, serenaded by a street singer (PARIS BY NIGHT – REPRISE).
Later, back at the hotel, Squash is stunned to find his boss in bed with Victor and, when King tries to explain, he is stunned when Squash reveals that he too is gay. Victoria and King reluctantly agree that their romance as two men won’t work (ALMOST A LOVE SONG). Meanwhile, back in a nightclub in CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, a disgruntled Norma enlists the aid of King’s partner, Sal Andretti. When Sal learns that King has thrown Norma over for a “gay polish fairy,” they head for Paris. Toddy and Squash have become quite cozy but Victoria can’t keep up the charade any longer if it means she and King can’t be together (LIVING IN THE SHADOWS). She and Toddy agree that Victor will soon retire but before the official final appearance they attempt to keep up the ruse. Upon Sal and Norma’s arrival, King professes his love for “Victor,” but, when Labisse witnesses Victoria’s revealing of her true femininity to Norma, thereby vouching for King’s manhood, all seems lost. Labisse will expose “Victor” to the world as a fraud. At the final performance, it’s Toddy to the rescue, in drag in place of Victoria, and the day is saved for all happy couples (VICTOR/VICTORIA).
Purchases from Amazon.com
From left to right above: 1. Victor/Victoria Original Broadway Cast CD. 2. Victor/Victoria Film Soundtrack CD. 3. Victor/Victoria Broadway Production DVD. 4. Victor/Victoria Film DVD. 5. Victor/Victoria – Broadway Vocal Selections.