Thursday, July 25, 2013

This North Coast Weekend

Opening Thursday (July 25, otherwise known as tonight) at North Coast Rep, a play written by an actual female impersonator (and contemporary American playwright): The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, a comedy by Charles Busch. Directed by Scott Malcolm and featuring Gloria Montgomery, Arnold Waddell, Cynthia Kosiak, Denise Ryles and Pryncz Lotoj. More information at

Continuing is the musical about the fake female impersonator, Victor/Victoria at Ferndale Rep.  My review is in this week's NC Journal.  In it I write: "Since the part of Victor/Victoria was written for the looks, accent and voice of Julie Andrews, a kind of imitation is inescapable. Jo Kuzelka has the vocal range but also the skills to strongly suggest Andrews, and yet make these tunes her own. Her singing was thrilling at times, and as actor and dancer as well, her performance was impressive and promising."

Which leads me to a few memories of Julie Andrews.  She was the first Broadway star I saw and heard--I was 16 when I saw my first Broadway musical, the original cast Camelot with Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet. Her voice was thrilling, her stage presence perfect for the part.  This musical probably spoiled me forever, since she and Burton had a way with songs very different from the typical Broadway style.

With her roles in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins she got the reputation not only as a goody goody (in the original Peter Cook and Dudley Moore film of Bedazzled,  the devil's magic words to undo the wish spell were "Julie Andrews!") but as sexless. But at least in the 60s, she really wasn't.  After all, as Guenevere she had to be the woman that both Arthur and Lancelot fall for.  Even as the androgynous Victor/Victoria, she had to have enough sex appeal to make the Chicago gangster played by James Garner pine for her, sending him into a sexual identity crisis.

But in my humble opinion she was never sexier than opposite Garner in a 60s film: The Americanization of Emily (1964.) It was a dramatic part without singing (though the movie was also comic and basically satirical.) There was some heat in their scenes, even if augmented by her uniform.

It's the final weekend for The Heir Apparent at Redwood Curtain.

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