London's Bridewell Theatre will open the year with another UK musical premiere. The new production of Broadway hit Victor/Victoria will have a strictly limited season from 13 to 31 January 2004 (previews from 8 January).

Blake Edwards wrote the 1982 movie musical as a vehicle for his wife Julie Andrews, who also starred in the stage version that ran for two years on Broadway from 1995 to 1997. Victor/Victoria's Oscar-winning film score - by Henry Mancini (who also wrote the Pink Panther theme) with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse (Dr Doolittle) - includes "Le Jazz Hot", "You and Me", "Crazy World" and "Paris Makes me Horny!".

The UK premiere will feature three additional songs from Bricusse and the late Mancini (who died in 1994), which have never been staged before. Additional music is by Frank Wildhorn.

Set in 1930s Paris, Victor/Victoria is a romantic comedy about penniless soprano Victoria Grant. When auditioning for the city's most decadent nightclub, she realises it'll take more then a pure singing voice to become the toast of the town. Fortunately the flamboyant Toddy is at hand with an audacious plan to disguise her as 'Victor', the male drag queen! But can they fool Paris and pull off the coup?

At the Bridewell, Ria Jones (whose previous West End credits include Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Les Miserables) will play the title role. The cast also includes Stewart Alexander, Emma Barton, Matthew Daines, William El-Gardi, Nikki Gerrard, Mark Halliday, Christopher Holt, Edward Law, Sorelle Marsh, Gary O'Sullivan, and Nick Sutcliffe.

Victor/Victoria is directed by Phil Willmott, with musical direction by Annemarie Lewis Thomas, choreography by Jack Gunn, design by Rosemary Flegg and lighting Hansjorg Schmidt. It's presented by Suzanna Rosenthal, The Steam Industry, TEG Productions and the Bridewell Theatre.

- by Terri Paddock