THEATER: Julie Andrews’ Voice Is Kaput, And So Is Kathie Lee’s Broadway Show

Divas, divas everywhere!  This week’s column gets us up-to-date on some of our favorite leading ladies.


Scandalous, the new Broadway musical with book, lyrics, and some music by Kathie Lee Gifford, is officially a flop.

The show, about the life of early 20th-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, closes on Sunday after opening to a mere 29 performances.

On Today, Gifford gave this roundabout excuse: “Hurricane Sandy was just devastating to everyone in the tri-state area. But Broadway was badly hit—nobody has really recovered. The new shows haven’t.”

Newsflash to Kath: Hurricane Sandy caused a crapload of damage, but it wasn’t what killed Scandalous.  A book and lyrics written like a preschooler’s presentation, the propagandist religious flag-waving, the glossing over of the more salacious parts of McPherson’s story, the embarrassingly campy dance number about Moses and Pharaoh, and an audience whose minds you could feel growing number with each number—that’s what killed Scandalous.  [Los Angeles Times]

In one of the most heartbreaking items of the year, stage and screen icon Julie Andrews has conceded that her legendary four-octave voice will never return. In 1997, the Oscar winner had a botched operation to remove nodules from her throat, and her voice never fully recovered.

But true to the spirit of her characters, Andrews is taking a spoonful of sugar and doing her favorite things: She just released a new children’s book, Little Bo in London, and directed a musical version of  The Great American Mousical, which is playing at Connecticut’s Norma Terris Theatre through Sunday.  She may not be singing, but Andrews’ creative voice booming. [New York Daily News]



Fans of disco diva Deborah Cox, rejoice: The icon is currently starring in the pre-Broadway tour of Jekyll & Hyde next to American Idol‘s Constantine Maroulis.

The 1997 musical put composer Frank Wildhorn on the theatrical map (unfortunately, some say), and remains his only hit. Cox is playing Lucy, the role originated by Linda Eder, which gives her lots of opportunities to blow the roof off the whatever house the show is being staged in.

“It’s a challenge to play [Lucy] because I’m a spirited and strong person,” Cox told Edge magazine. “It’s hard to be submissive. I’m not sure if Lucy is as strong as I am emotionally. There are a lot of things that Lucy does or puts up with that I certainly would not.”

Wildhorn may be notorious for writing flop after flop, but with Cox belting his music to the rafters, his songs are bound to sound like hits. [Edge On The Net]


If the walls of your city’s oldest gay bar could talk, they might sound like David Leeper’s one-man show At the Flash. Presented by Pride Film and Plays in Chicago, the piece takes audiences through LGBT history from the 1960s to the modern day, using the lives of the denizens of a fictional gay bar as a throughline. Leeper plays a different character in each era—a ’60s closet case, a ’70s drag queen, an ’80s lesbian activist, a ’90s club bunny, and a family man from the 2000s—mirroring the evolution of contemporary gay identity. Though the play closes on December 16, I hope it has a life beyond the Windy City. A study of gay barflys over the years sounds like an excellent exploration on how much we’ve changed, or perhaps remained the same. [Pride Film and Plays]


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  • MikeE

    Just a quick correction: Julie Andrews does NOT have a “four octave range”. That is a physical impossibility.

    Most trained opera singers have 2-octave ranges (more or less, depending on the type of voice, some have slightly wider ranges, by up to a 5th or 6th).

    Let’s use an example from Ms. Andrews’ repertoire: Le Jazz Hot (Victor/Victoria).
    The famous glissando at the end, which sounds so “impressive”, only covers two octaves, from G3 to G5.

    Anyway, /pedantic self off, yeah, no four octave range. No singer does.

  • QJ201

    Deborah Cox has never had the career her talent deserves.

    A couple of years ago I saw her at Southern Decadence…and she whipped the crowd into a huge frenzy.

  • CaptainFabulous

    @MikeE: I beg to differ. As a singer myself on a good day I can clear nearly 4 octaves. Of course it’s not of 100% practical use, but to say it’s a physical impossibility is not accurate.

    Any female singer with a whistle register should easily be able to span 3 octaves.

    Not impossible. Just unusual.

  • MikeE

    @CaptainFabulous: Bullsh**

    you cannot hit 4 octaves.
    I’ve met countless singers who’ve pretended that they had 4 octave ranges. and they were just counting it wrong. Most I’ve ever heard is a sloppy three octaves.

    and yes, I teach singing, I coach singers, I’m writing an opera, and I’ve been doing this for 30+ years.

    4 octaves covers the C below the bass clef, and reaches to the C above the treble clef. it’s impossible.

  • CaptainFabulous

    @MikeE: So this guy isn’t covering a 4 octave range? I do not wish to cast doubt upon your impeccable resume, experience, and body of work, but one doesn’t need a degree in music theory to know how to count an octave.


    It’s not pretty. But it’s most certainly 4 octaves.

  • Crankycub

    I saw AT THE FLASH – it’s an amazing one man show. Funny, Moving, and a reminder of where gay people have been and where we are now. David Leeper is awesome! If you’re in Chicago GO SEE IT!

  • MikeE

    @CaptainFabulous: ROFLMAO

    being able to croak out low notes, then squeak out high notes does not a “4 octave range” make.

    if Julie Andrews says she has a 4-octave range, then she is expected to be able to USE that 4-octave range. which is patently impossible.

    The video you showed is not of a usable 4-octave range. he basically burps out the lowest notes, then screeches out the entire last octave+ in an unusable falsetto.

  • Kai

    Note to Queerty and the NY Daily News…. it’s NOT news that Dame Julie’s voice is not coming back… she said as much in the early 2000’s! Love her all the same, of course.

  • hf2hvit

    That woman is a bitch. I worked somewhere where she was expected in. We were told NOT to speak to her or even LOOK at her. She spent eight hours terrorizing the owner and the entire place…

  • OrchidIsleGuy

    @MikeE: I agree with you regarding that Youtube guy. That was pretty funny and hardly indicative of a 4 octave vocal range.

    Though rare, a 4 octave range is not impossible. It has happened and I guess the best example I can think of is the late Yma Sumac who I had the opportunity to see once. I also thoroughly enjoyed John Gilkey and Cirque Du Soleil’s usage of her Gopher Mambo.

    4 octaves or higher? Exceedingly rare, almost to the point of impossibility, but not quite.


  • balehead

    Who’s the “man dish” in the photo???…

  • Tracy


    Edward Watts.

  • ScaryRussianHeather

    There is no such thing as a 4 octave range. The terminology IS “usable octaves”. A vocal fry on the low end (Britney-like) and whistle on the high end (Mariah) are just tricks and not usable. Just “hitting” a note with vocal chord tricks is not singing a note.

    Yma Sumac was a trick singer. She wasnt’ singing WORDS and songs in those extremes outside of her NATURAL range. Google Chuncho or “Vírgenes del Sol” or the show on Letterman.

    Someone who works on it with a decent basic voice can hit SOUNDS but that’s not singing WORDS.

    That’s why she was a pop singer with a small cult following, not any type of accomplished singer or hired for her actual singing.

  • BikeHulk

    @MikeE: Wait a second, what about Yma Sumac? I’m pretty sure her range was well document.

  • BikeHulk

    @hf2hvit: Are u referring to Julie Andrews or Kathie Lee??

  • BikeHulk

    @ScaryRussianHeather: I’m a big fan of pedantic (being a big old pedant myself), so it’s all good and I want to hear about your opera for reals! (I want to produce an opera!) But I think if someone can “output” notes I think that’s singing… anyway it’s just my opinion.

Comments are closed.