If you’ve been wondering where to find the next Neil Simon, or Hal Prince’s successor, look no further. You’ll find a flawless musical by David Yazbek, and Robert Horn with direction from Scott Ellis in "Tootsie," at the Marquis Theater, showcasing the future of Broadway.
"Tootsie," a huge success as a 1982 movie with Dustin Hoffman has been brilliantly reimagined with Santino Fontana in the role of Michael Dorsey, a talented actor who is so difficult that no one will hire him.
This narrative is conveyed by a talented chorus informing us of Dorsey’s plight through Yazbek’s witty lyrics, which are funnier than most of the dialogue you’ll find in any standard comedy, be it a play or movie.
While it retains the spirit of the original film, the creative team has smartly updated the plot, so Dorsey’s desperation forces him to audition as a woman for a bad Broadway play, replacing the movie’s soap opera. Also gone is the awkward male love interest from Charles Durning, which always bothered me in the movie.
As Dorothy Michaels, Fontana never imitates Dustin Hoffman, but rather pays homage to an iconic performance as a man playing a woman who sings, dances and delivers Horn’s hilarious dialogue perfectly. While Fontana is not yet a household name, he soon will be.
Dorothy Michaels is cast in "Juliet’s Curse," a sequel to Romeo and Juliet, featuring an incompetent director and talentless leading man (Reg Rogers and John Behlmann respectively) who give two of the show’s many inspired performances.
Sarah Stiles and Andy Grotelueschen also give outstanding comic turns along with Julie Halston (as producer Rita Marshall), who expertly delivers Horn’s numerous zingers:
“I’ve got 12 million riding on this show – none of it mine.”
"Sometimes I wish my first husband could look down from heaven and see me now -- but no, he’s alive.”
The movie also featured what Dustin Hoffman referred to as his “famous scene,” which shows Dorothy Michaels rise to fame, and the play delivers the same with “Unstoppable,” a wonderful, bring-down-the-house number that closes the first act. Other than the work of Stephen Sondheim, I’ve never heard songs fit so seamlessly into a show.
People will often comment that a movie is never better than the book, but in this case the play is better than the movie.
Unlike so many of today’s Broadway productions, "Tootsie" is not populated with movie stars out of their element but rather Broadway pros who truly light up the stage.
You’ll need to see it twice, to catch all the jokes you missed the first time from laughing so hard.
"Tootsie" is playing at the Marquis Theater in New York
Two hours, 35 minutes
Music and lyrics by David Yazbek; Book by Robert Horn; Choreography by Denis Jones; Directed by Scott Ellis
Santino Fontana, Lilli Cooper, Sarah Stiles, John Behlmann, Andy Grotelueschen, Julie Halston, Michael McGrath, Reg Rogers , Sissy Bell, Barry Busby, Paula Leggett Chase, Britney Coleman, Leslie Donna Flesner , Jenifer Foote, John Arthur Greene, Drew King , Jeff Kready, Harris Milgrim, Adam Monley, Shina Ann Morris, James Moye, Katerina Papacostas, Nick Spangler, Diana Vaden and Anthony Wayne.
Rob Taub works as a broker at CORE in NYC, where he hosts a weekly podcast. He has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. Rob has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and has written for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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