Victor/Victoria (1982, Julie Andrews) is one of my favorite musicals, with such great songs as “Paris by Night” and “Le Jazz Hot!”. The hit TV show “Glee” released a remake of “Le Jazz Hot!” featuring the extraordinary voice talents of Chris Colfer, aka Kurt Hummel. Chris Colfer’s character Kurt, is openly gay and well-placed to sing the “Victor/Victoria” number as this show features cross-dresser and gay impressario Carrol “Toddy” Todd. Julie Andrews character Victoria also becomes the famous Count Victor Granzinski, in a wonderful melange of double cross-dressing and female impersonating a male female impersonator.
Interestingly, in other “Glee” shows featuring cross-dressing numbers, such as the recent remake of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, Colfer’s character Kurt refuses to sing Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s “Sweet Transvestite” or perform the role. Kurt claims that it’s gender profiling and stereotypical. Happily for “Glee” and Chris Colfer fans like me, Kurt was willing to sing “Le Jazz Hot!”.
Chris Colfer has an exquisite voice that has been largely overlooked and relegated to back up singing in previous shows. We hear a little of Colfer’s talents early on. When Kurt and Rachel (Lea Michele) are competing against each other to sing “Defying Gravity” (from the Broadway musical “Wicked”), Kurt “takes one for the team” in order to prevent Rachel from quitting the Glee club. Kurt purposely botched the high F note and his audition. But we do hear Kurt sing “Defying Gravity” correctly; he is clearly capable.
Kurt has had a few solo roles, notably “Mr. Cellophane” from Broadway’s “Chicago”. Kurt also nailed “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from the Stephen Sondheim musical “Gypsy” (based on the story of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and performed by such greats as Ethyl Merman, Rosalind Russel, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters). Chris Kolfer’s voice talents are featured in a duet of Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” on “Glee, the Music, the Christmas Album” with fellow Glee cast member Darren Criss, also.
Many of the Glee cast members have excellent voices. Personally, I find Lea Michele(Rachel) and Cory Monteith (Finn) a little over-rated and a lot over emphasized. It’s nice to hear some other Glee members featured. It’s nice to see Mark Salling (Noah “Puck” Puckerman), Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) and Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) getting more exposure. For me, though, Voice of the Year award belongs to Chris Colfer. What would complete the picture for me is for “Glee” to remake part or all of “Cabaret” and Kurt to sing the part of Sally Bowles or Master of Ceremonies.