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Victor/Victoria

There are those who, lacking a holistic understanding of the world, like to see things in terms of black and white, right and wrong, male and female, and so on, as if reality was fractured right down the middle. But of course, sooner or later, the ambiguities of the universe are bound to reveal themselves. Before the film The Crying Game set the tone for a gutsy looks at gender issues, it was the film, and later the stage play, Victor/Victoria that challenged audiences' perceptions of the spectrum of human sexuality.

Photo of Joan Staples (Victor) in
Joan Staples (Victor)
in "Le Jazz Hot"
Photo Credit: P. Switzer
Originally a very successful film by Blake Edwards, Victor/Victoria was later adapted to the stage. While the critics at the time couldn't help but comparing the two, the theatrical version, with music by Henry Mancini, stands on its own. In the Arvada Center's current production, Director Rod Lansberry fully utilizes his talented cast to take advantage of every comedic
opportunity and dramatic moment.

Photo of Bill Berry (Toddy) and Joan Staples (Victor)
Bill Berry (Toddy) and Joan Staples
(Victor) in "You and Me"
Photo Credit: P. Switzer
Joan Staples is a perfect fit in the title role. As a woman playing a man pretending to be a woman, she is both a dashing female impersonator and fetching and vulnerable woman. Her voice is equally remarkable as an alto or soprano, bringing to life "If I Were A Man," "Le Jazz Hot," "Crazy World," and other numbers. Bill Berry is charming as Toddy, the avuncular, sophisticated aging queen that befriends Victoria and encourages her new act.

Photo of Heidi Morrow-Hahn (Norma)
Heidi Morrow-Hahn (Norma)
in "Chicago Speakeasy"
Photo Credit: P. Switzer
As King Marchan, the dashing Chicago gangster, Rick Hilsabeck nicely transitions from macho posturing to open-minded curiosity, as he pursues Victor, who he thinks is a woman. Heidi Morrow-Hahn is a crack-up as Norma Cassidy, King's malaprop-laden moll. As always, Morrow-Hahn's dance solos light up the stage, particularly "Paris Makes Me Horny." The rest of the ensemble does a knock-out job with the big production numbers and supporting roles.

The Arvada Center's non-stop Victor/Victoria is a winning-combination of laughs and serious social commentary. It runs through
May 4th. 720-898-7200.

Bob Bows

 

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