| Stage |

Musical Victor/Victoria Brings Its Gender-Bending Story and Great Music to Houston

A survival plan born of mutual desperation is at the heart of the gender-bending musical Victor/Victoria now on its way to the Hobby Center in Theatre Under the Stars' 2014-15 season opener.

Tony-nominee Tony Sheldon (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) is here to play Toddy, the flamboyant manager who hatches the scheme that launches the career of a young singer.

"My character Toddy is a middle-aged gay man living in Paris in the '30s. He's broke, he's just lost his job and he comes across Victoria Grant who's an unemployed English soprano who's been stranded in Paris and she's broke and has nowhere to live and so the two of them are desperate. Toddy's the one who conjures the plan of disguising her as a man and passing her off as Europe's greatest female impersonator. Toddy comes up with the idea of perpetrating this hoax and making them both rich."

Further complications, of course ensue when Victoria falls for club owner and heterosexual King Marchand.

With a running time of about two and-a-half hours, the Broadway musical doesn't vary too much from the much-loved Julie Andrews film, says Sheldon who was last seen in Houston in last season's TUTS production of Camelot.

Australian by birth, Sheldon relocated to the United States after his success in Priscilla and since then has found steady work in New York and across the country.

"I'd made my entire career in Australia. I got to go all around the world with that show and played it on the West End for a year and then Broadway. It was beyond my wildest dreams. That's when I decided to stay in America and pursue my career here. I don't regret it at all. I've been very lucky in the roles I've been getting. I'm Just coming off My Fair Lady in Minneapolis. Earlier this year I was playing the Kennedy Center."

Sheldon says Victor/Victoria probably isn't performed often because of its large cast. People should see it, he says because of its dance numbers and lavish costumes. And for the wonderful music. "It was Henry Mancini's last show before he died. It's a good, old-fashioned comedy musical."

Victor/Victoria runs September 16-28 and performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information call 713.558.8887 or visit tuts.com. $44.50-$120.

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