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"Victor\Victoria" is a charming 1982 film that starred the wonderful Julie Andrews as a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. Andrews' co-star was the equally wonderful Robert Preston, who played her witty gay chum who helps her become a popular drag queen...sort of.
In 1995, Andrews' husband, the director Blake Edwards, decided to turn the film that he directed and his wife starred in, into a splashy musical comedy with music by Henry Mancini of "Pink Panther" fame and lyrics by Leslie Bricuse of "Willy Wonka" fame. Of coruse, Andrews would make her return to Broadway in the show after a long absence. It was a surefire success...not.
Although Andrews does her best to hit those high notes, that lovely soprano that she was so famous for can't be used often. For most of her songs, Andrews uses her lower voice, which is just as wonderful as her higher singing voice.
Tony Roberts, who plays the Robert Preston role (Preston had passed away several years earlier) is also fine. Michael Nouri, as Andrews' romantic interest is very charming and Rachel York, as a slightly dumb chorine from Chicago, is great. Gregory Jbara is as always, delighftul.
Now that I've gotten through the good things- basicaly the cast, it's time to review the one problematic element of the show- its score.
The show opens with the nice "Paris By Night" which replaces a rather medicore song from the film. However, once Roberts' character meets Ms. Andrews, one of the stinkers of the score is sung- "If I Were a Man." There is no melody to this song and the lyrics aren't particulary anything to write home about. Ms. Andrews tries her best though. Roberts' "Trust Me" and Andrews' "Le Jazz Hot" are fine, in fact excellent, but poor Rachel York, one of the standout cast members, gets the terrible "Paris Makes Me Horny." What could be a great comic number is turned sour thanks to Mr. Bricuses' awful lyrics-
Paris is so sexy
Riding in a taxi
Gives me apoplexi
The three ending words do not rhyme at all, although they may seem to. There's also-
Oslo really was slow
Also, this pushing it. They don't rhyme.
Andrews' "Crazy World" from the film is very nice though. Her cheesey, "Louis Says", the second act opener, is not so spectacular. Nouri's "King's Dilemma" has some questionable lyrics, although he makes the medicore number very good. My favorite song from the score is "You and Me", however. Andrews and Roberts are really sensational in it. Next is Andrews and Norui's not so lilting romantic ballad, "Almost a Love Song", which seems memorable. However, after a few measures, the melody looses its tunefulness. Andrews' "Living in the Shadows", however, is excellent and has a haunting melody. Some lyrics don't come off so well sung, but on paper, they're fine. The big finale of a title song is also very nice. Some lyrics again, are questionable.
So, I've picked on the lyrics of the score the most. However, they are the most troublesome element of the show. Mancini's music also doesn't shine every song.
The CD packaging is nice, with a synopsis and an essay by composer\Andrews' friend, Andre Previn.
If you're a Mancini or Andrews fan, I'd recommend this. If not, there are some nice songs, but it's not worth every penny.