For today’s Diva Friday, let’s celebrate diversity! After all, it is Pride Month. And I don’t know of any current leading lady musical actress more diverse than Rachel York.
She’s the only woman I know of who can convincingly play zany madcap, as she did in her Tony-snubbed turn as Norma Cassidy in Victor/Victoria:
And then Grande Dame leading lady, as she did in Kiss Me Kate:
And did you catch her in the 2003 CBS telemovie Lucy (“When the comedy stopped…real life began”)? That’s ok. No one did — except me and 12 other people. It was a pretty lame excuse for even a made-for-TV movie. However, York proved herself a fearless mimic, able to perfectly capture the mannerisms and voice of this legendary comedienne’s on-camera looniness and her off-camera booziness. (EDIT: 1/27/10: Clips from the CBS Lucy movie are now on YouTube. Check out this one, in particular, to see Ms. York in action.)
I also hear she can do a dead-on Julie Andrews impersonation, though I’ve never heard it. It comes from her long-standing working relationship with the Dame, which started in the Sondheim review Putting it Together, and then led to Victor/Victoria. There is some well-worn rumor* out there that Andrews hit on York during Putting it Together, and York had to politely turn her down, while letting her know how flattered she (York) was. [*Editor’s Note: Ms. York has cleared up these rumors, in her comments at the end of this post. In short: Not true.]
Regardless, I wouldn’t blame Julie one bit if it was true — York’s hot:
I caught York last Fall when she starred opposite Jeff Daniels in the disappointing Turn of the Century. (My review is here.) There, she demonstrated another essential leading lady quality: the ability to turn shit into gold. Seriously — girl carried that show on her back.
She’s always working, and working all over the country. Next up for the blonde bombshell (at least I think she’s a blonde…): She’ll be starring in Hello Dolly in Boston. (The picture above is actually not from Dolly, but Turn of the Century…they were doing a riff on Dolly. Confusing? I hope so.) I understand she’s filling in last minute for Joanne Worley as Ms. Levi. This isn’t York’s first time taking over a lead at the eleventh hour — she also stepped in as Mother in Papermill Playhouse’s Ragtime a few years ago when Jayne Patterson had a family emergency. And York got raves. She’s a pro.
Visit her web site to learn more about this lovely, diverse woman.