by Beverly Creasey
The good news about "Victor/Victoria" is Jamie Ross in the Robert Preston role of a loveable old queen who befriends a young singer down on her luck. Ross fairly glows as this mischievous mentor.
Toni Tennille portrays the girl who poses as a guy who performs as a woman. Tennille has a rich contralto, but her range makes the whole set-up problematic, since she already sings pretty low and so it's no stretch to sing like a "guy". Tennille didn't warm to the role until the big production number in scene four when she/he belts out the show's most familiar song, "Le Jazz Hot".
This national tour has a few kinks to work out : a "high G" for Victor for instance is recorded, not sung by Tennille, and it sounds like it came all the way from the Wilbur down the street; and there's some very confusing hijinks in a door-slamming, all-in-the-timing French farce tribute. But the show has a number of performances which make it great fun: Ross, with charm to spare is the "brains" and Dana Lynn Mauro is the "body" who chews so much scenery as a dumb blonde gangster's moll her teeth must have to be sharpened nightly!
Henry Mancini's "Parisian" music feels like Gershwin, which is nothing to sneeze at, but Leslie Bricusse's rhymes test one's patience: He corrals ""Margot" "argot" "Chicago" and "cargo" into one short lyric, making you pine for iambic pentameter.
However, when they bring out the big guns --- and a big gun --- in a Chicago speakeasy number, the show takes off, thanks to Dan Mojica's smart and Fosse-laden choreography. It's the chorus who put the pizzazz into Blake Edwards' story, and fortunately you get lots of snazzy jazzy dancing in "Victor/Victoria".