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Victor/Victoria - Southwark Playhouse

Victor/Victoria

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE CREATIVE team behind the recent acclaimed Southwark Playhouse musicals, Parade and Mack and Mabel, are returning to the venue to present the Broadway musical comedy, Victor/Victoria.

Produced by Danielle Tarento, directed by Thom Southerland and starring Anna Francolini as Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski, it runs for an 8-week season in The Vault – from November 1 (previews from October 25) to December 15, 2012.

Based on the 1982 Julie Andrews/Blake Edwards Hollywood movie, Victor/Victoria has a book by Blake Edwards, music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and additional musical material (music and lyrics) by Frank Wildhorn.

Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli and Raquel Welch all starred as Victor/Victoria on Broadway, where the show ran for more than 700 performances.

Victor/Victoria is set in Paris in the 1930s. Victoria, a penniless, starving British soprano with an amazing vocal range, is rescued by Toddy, a performer at night club Chez Lui, who comes up with the crazy idea to disguise her as a man called Count Victor Grazinski and become the toast of Gay Paree as the world’s greatest female impersonator.

But things get complicated when King Marchan, an American mobster from Chicago and very straight, sees the celebrated act and finds himself strangely attracted to Victor.

The venue’s seating is being configured with cabaret-style tables placed near the stage. The price of these reserved cabaret seats will include a glass of champagne, and people sitting there will really feel part of the action in the night club Chez Lui where the the show is set.

Victor/Victoria is not Anna Francolini’s first time on stage cross-dressing in a musical. In The Ballad of Little Jo, she starred in the title role as Jo Monaghan, a young woman who lived as a man in the silver mines of Idaho in the 1890s.

Anna Francolini

She has also appeared in two acclaimed Stephen Sondheim productions at the Donmar Warehouse – Sam Mendes’ production of Company in 1995 (as Marta) and Michael Grandage’s production of Merrily We Roll Along in 2000 (as Gussie).

Her other stage roles include the Baker’s Wife in the Royal Opera House production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Jean Brodie in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton (winner of the 2009 TMA Award for Best Performance in a Play), and Maria Callas in Martin Sherman’s Onassis in the West End.

On screen, she has appeared in Mike Leigh’s film, Topsy-Turvy and the TV mini-series Rome.

Director Thom Southerland was longlisted Best Newcomer in the 2011 Evening Standard Awards for Parade and the same year was named Best Director at The Offies – Off West End Theatre Awards – for Me and Juliet at the Finborough.

His credits also include the European premiere of I Sing!, Divorce Me, Darling!, Annie Get Your Gun, The Pajama Game and sold-out all-male adaptations of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and The Mikado (Union Theatre); Noel and Gertie (Cockpit Theatre), the European premiere of The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Landor Theatre), Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madam! (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) and the European premiere of State Fair (Finbourough and Trafalgar Studios).

Presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc, New York, Victor/Victoria is choreographed by Lee Proud, with musical direction by Joe Atkins, set and costume design by Martin Thomas, lighting by Howard Hudson and sound by Andrew Johnson. Further casting has yet to be announced.

Tickets: £10 £16.50 £22.50 – airline style pricing, the earlier you book,
the cheaper the tickets; £27.50 for reserved seats on cabaret tables close to stage (the price includes a glass of champagne) – all available from the box office on 020 7407 0234 or online at www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinee at 3pm.

I Am A Camera continues in the The Vault until Saturday, September 22, 2012.