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Why did they snub Victor/Victoria?

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    Boidiva02
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    So I was reading recently about the 1995 Tony’s and how Julie Andrews declined her nomination feeling that her show Victor/Victoria was unduly overlooked for nominations. I don’t follow Broadway very closely so I was wondering if you guys could explain why Victor/Victoria was overlooked, in your opinion? Was it a good production or was it a bad show? Was it a flop? was there some political reason the show was not nominated? Was Julie right to decline her nomination or was she overreacting? In hindsight how is this show remembered and what do you consider to be reasons for the snub of this production?

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    I remember when (the late, great) Craig Zadan and Neil Meron were both on Theater Talk in 2012 discussing Smash, they both mentioned how executive producer Steven Spielberg is a gigantic fan of Broadway musicals as well as his quest to direct a movie musical (which he is now doing with West Side Story). Since Zadan & Meron have produced Broadway shows, Michael Riedel asked about the idea of Spielberg himself directing a Broadway musical. This then led to Riedel bringing up the story of how when filmmaker Blade Edwards was directing the stage adaptation of Victor/Victoria during its out-of-town run in Chicago, he clearly didn’t understand the differences between theater and film.

    @6:00

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    adamunc
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    As I recall, the critical reception at the time was muted to poor, liking mostly Andrews and some of the other cast, particularly Rachel York. It was a bit of surprise that she was not nominated for the Featured Actress Tony. (She won the Drama Desk, as did Andrews for Leading Actress.) The Times review was the epitome of “damning with faint praise”.

    It does seem that the nominating committee went out of its way to snub Victor/Victoria by nominating Chronicle of a Death Foretold (which can only be called a musical if you really stretch the definition) and Swinging on a Star (a musical revue) for Best Musical.

    The production was recorded in high-definition and is available online and on Blu-ray. Andrews is a delight, but the show itself is often limp and ill-directed.

    Andrews had said she planned to stay in the show until it recouped, but she was forced to quit when she developed vocal problems. The resulting surgery for nodes ended her singing career. Raquel Welch (!) replaced her. The show ran over 700 performances, but I don’t remember it ever announcing a recoupment. It was so expensive to run that it most likely didn’t.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    Film-to-stage musical adaptations were relatively rare in the 90s compared to today. Kiss Of The Spider Woman in 1993 was one of the rare successful screen-to-stage adaptations. In 1994, Beauty And The Beast debuted on Broadway, and while it was a huge success with audiences, it wasn’t so much with critics, who basically felt it was a 2 and a half-hour Disney World show. Plus, while it was nominated for several Tonys, it only won for its costume design, and nothing else. Victor/Victoria tried to recreate itself onstage from the movie verbatim, from having Julie Andrews reprise her lead role to having Blake Edwards reprise his directing duties from the film. However, Edwards was not used to directing theater, and apart from Andrews, critics felt the show did not live up to the hype. It wasn’t until The Lion King took home top honors at the Tonys in 1998 did people begin to think that movies could be successfully adapted for the stage, leading to the likes of The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots, etc.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    So I was reading recently about the 1995 Tony’s and how Julie Andrews declined her nomination feeling that her show Victor/Victoria was unduly overlooked for nominations. I don’t follow Broadway very closely so I was wondering if you guys could explain why Victor/Victoria was overlooked, in your opinion? Was it a good production or was it a bad show? Was it a flop? was there some political reason the show was not nominated? Was Julie right to decline her nomination or was she overreacting? In hindsight how is this show remembered and what do you consider to be reasons for the snub of this production?

    It was actually the 1996 Tonys you’re referring to.

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    Boidiva02
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    It was actually the 1996 Tonys you’re referring to.

    thanks

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    Film-to-stage musical adaptations were relatively rare in the 90s compared to today. Kiss Of The Spider Woman in 1993 was one of the rare successful screen-to-stage adaptations. In 1994, Beauty And The Beast debuted on Broadway, and while it was a huge success with audiences, it wasn’t so much with critics, who basically felt it was a 2 and a half-hour Disney World show. Plus, while it was nominated for several Tonys, it only won for its costume design, and nothing else. Victor/Victoria tried to recreate itself onstage from the movie verbatim, from having Julie Andrews reprise her lead role to having Blake Edwards reprise his directing duties from the film. However, Edwards was not used to directing theater, and apart from Andrews, critics felt the show did not live up to the hype. It wasn’t until The Lion King took home top honors at the Tonys in 1998 did people begin to think that movies could be successfully adapted for the stage, leading to the likes of The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots, etc.

    To be clear, the Kiss of the Spider Woman musical is based more on Manuel Puig’s 1976 original novel as opposed to Héctor Babenco’s 1985 Academy Award-winning film adaptation. Though some of the older musicals like Applause, A Little Night Music, Little Shop of Horrors, Nine, and Passion were based on movies. Even some of the classics took previous film adaptations of their original source material for inspiration like The King & I, La Cage aux Folles, My Fair Lady, Oliver!, and The Sound of Music.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    I was specifically referring to musicals that pretty much closely followed the plot of the original films with a few alterations made here and there.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    Still, Kiss of the Spider Woman does not count as a film-to-stage musical adaptation because it was not a direct adaptation of the 1985 movie. Though other Broadway musicals from the 1990s that were based on movies included Big, The Goodbye Girl, Grand Hotel (to some extent), Meet Me in St. Louis, and State Fair.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    I was just listening to a podcast interview with actress Lesley Ann Warren, and she revealed that director Blake Edwards actually asked her to reprise her Oscar nominated role as Norma Cassidy in the Broadway stage adaptation of Victor/Victoria. Though she turned it down for two reasons:

    1. She had already created that part to such a degree, that she didn’t want to do anything that would diminish what she created on screen.

    2. At the time, she was getting ready to do a Johnny Mercer revue on Broadway titled Dream.

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