The curse of "Victor/Victoria" lives on. Julie Andrews battled throat problems and missed many of her performances. Illness somehow found its way to Tony Roberts, who began calling in sick soon after Liza Minnelli arrived on the scene. Now, with Raquel Welch set to take over the role on June 3, the turbulence continues.

Creative differences between Welch and writer/director Blake Edwards nearly led to a walkout by the star last week, people familiar with the production said, but by late afternoon all was well."We just had a run-through and she seemed very happy when I left," said Tony Adams, a producer of the show, who denied that anything was amiss.

Welch did not suggest that anything serious was wrong during an interview on Monday. She mentioned a feeling of awkwardness as the new member of the cast and some apprehension about being compared with Andrews.

It has been a little while since Welch stepped on a Broadway stage. Fifteen years ago, she won admiring reviews when she followed Lauren Bacall in "Woman of the Year."

Welch gets two new numbers, probably "Who Can I Tell?," which Minnelli sang, and "I Guess It's Time," which was cut before the show reached Broadway.

She also gets the chance to let it rip in "Le Jazz Hot." Welch says that's what the customers want, and she's going to give it to them. "I want to give the part a kick in the pants," she said. "Julie-ness" she cannot deliver. "But I'm going to do my best at Raquel-ness," she said.

Perhaps most shocking, Welch seemed to think she could have a good time. "When I went to see the show, I thought, `This is a hoot,' " she said. "This could be fun for me."

- SPRUNG: The springs have sprung for "Once Upon a Mattress," closing June 1 after 187 performances and 33 previews.

- Peter Marks