Broadway tickets may be high, but at least the theaters give your money back if a name star doesn't show on your night. To cover themselves, producers buy insurance against missed appearances.

So the suits at American Insurance Group and other insurance firms have been sweating like opening-night authors over every curtain at the musical Victor/Victoria. Star Julie Andrews has missed 36 performances since the show opened on Broadway in October 1995, due to colds, an injured larynx and a gall-bladder operation. Cost: about $1.6 million.

Considering that Andrews is 61 and the demanding part has her onstage and singing for close to the entire two hours eight times a week, she's conducted herself like a trouper. But business is business. Stung by their losses, the insurance agents took another look at the policy--and say they caught Andrews in a lie. So they canceled the policy and filed suit.

She checked the "no" box for questions about whether she'd suffered from respiratory disease or disorders of bones or muscles. For reasons that aren't explained in the suit, the insurance companies believe the answers weren't truthful. The producers responded in legal papers that her only health problems are "mild bronchial symptoms." They've sued the insurers for $2 million in claims they filed for Andrews' missed performances.

Insurance or not, the show must go on. The star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music was back on the boards this week, heading towards her 600th performance.

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