Exactly how far will actors go to devote their lives to their craft? In “Tootsie,” a brand new musical comedy based off the Dustin Hoffman led-movie from 1982, a tempermental actor is willing to do whatever it takes to keep working, including impersonating a woman.
When his temperamental reputation prevents him from getting work, New York actor Michael Dorsey decides to walk into an audition as “Dorothy Michaels,” a sassy, new actress. Dorothy Michaels soon becomes an overnight sensation on Broadway, leaving Michael to manage both his career and Dorothy’s, a newfound attraction to his female co-star and fending off Dorothy’s male suitors.
With an outrageously funny script, vibrant score and wonderfully quirky cast, “Tootsie” is currently running in Chicago before moving to Broadway in the spring.
Santino Fontana (“Frozen”) does a phenomenal job playing the self-centered Michael as well as the shining diva that is Dorothy. His vocal ability to inhabit both of his characters so perfectly is astonishing. Lilli Cooper (“Wicked”), who plays Michael’s love interest and co-star Julie, does a beautiful job creating a career-driven, independent and confident actress looking for a caring and honest companion.
The script, written by Robert Horn, has many laugh-out loud moments that comment on the difficult lives of actors and their need to make art mean something while also sustaining an easy-going reputation. The score by David Yazbeck with orchestrations led by Simon Hale are fun, but could use a bit of reworking to be a bit more memorable before they hit the Broadway stage. William Ivey Long’s costumes perfectly blend classic Broadway razzle-dazzle with modern styles. David Rockwell’s scenic design is a great mix of the realistic clutter of Manhattan and the idealized, magical, musical New York that performers live in.
A big highlight of the show was Denis Jones’s bursting choreography that was executed flawlessly by the talented ensemble and kept the show fast and fluid. Scott Ellis led the team as the director and created a hilarious show that includes a modern conversation about feminism and the roles men should and should not play in that conversation.
“Tootsie” is playing at the Cadillac Palace Theater until October 14! Grab some friends, get that student discount and enjoy a night of sequins and fun.