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    Victor/Victoria Sing-along Packs Castro Theatre for Final Program Before Closure for Renovation

    Photos by Andrew Rosas

    Crowds braved one of the stormiest of San Francisco winter evenings on the night of February 4, 2024, for the final program held at the Castro Theatre before the 101-year-old landmark venue’s closure for an estimated 14–16 months to allow for renovation. The inclement weather, and bittersweet feelings about the closure, seemed to match the opening scenes of the film with penniless English soprano Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) shivering in the cold as she sings—breaking glass during an impressively high note—and struggles to survive.

    With help from her friend Carroll “Toddy” Todd (Robert Preston), she blossoms into “Victor/Victoria” in a queer-centric story that reminded many in the theatre about the importance of friendship and community. That energy was palpable, as audience members filled the historic Spanish-Baroque theatre with cheers, laughter, hisses, and applause.

    Getting help from friends saved the event behind the scenes too, as the bad weather prevented at least two planned entertainers—film and stage star Lesley Ann Warren (“Norma Cassidy” in the movie) and drag artist Matthew Martin—from attending and participating due to canceled flights.

    San Francisco’s Inaugural Drag Laureate D’Arcy Drollinger stepped in for Martin, performing the show’s hit number “Le Jazz Hot” and also serving as host of the event. Katya Smirnoff-Skyy helped kick off the night by introducing legendary Castro Theatre Organist David Hegarty, who performed to rousing applause. Laurie Bushman and Toby Moore helped host the sing-alongs and looked dashing in red tailcoat jackets, as did the rest of the on-stage performers.

    Drag artist Snaxx was eye-catching in a pink dress—and then a skimpy bathing suit. She performed one of the songs that Warren did in sexy fashion in the film, “Chicago, Illinois.”

    As the curtain went down on the 1982 Blake Edwards’ comedy, members of the audience reminisced about the theatre. It is now managed by Another Planet Entertainment, which will renovate the theatre over the next year-plus. A post from the theatre on February 5, 2024, stated, “What an unforgettable last pre-renovation show last night at Victor/Victoria. Thank you to everyone who joined and made it so special. BRB! Getting a glow up. See you in 2025!” The post added that renovation updates will be shared via social media and at

    The San Francisco Bay Times will also continue to report on any updates about the Castro Theatre, which remains a landmark of the neighborhood and has served as a home away from home for many, and especially for the LGBTQ+ community.

    Arts & Entertainment
    Published on February 8, 2024