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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START

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PianoMann
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#251
Posted: 4/19/19 at 12:38pm

I saw the show last night and thought it was excellent, and a genuinely funny musical comedy. The entire cast and especially Robert Horn's book are the stars of the show. Fontana gives a star turn and rightly deserves his frontrunner status for the Tony. He does make a very challenging role seem effortless. I've read some criticism that he doesn't get an 11 o'clock number, but he gets a number of songs that really allow him to shine. He's particularly great in "Unstoppable," and, although it's not the kind of climax in the shows that the act one finale touts, "Talk To Me Dorothy" has a certain amount of introspection and culmination to it. Sarah Stiles is excellent with "What's Gonna Happen," Lilli Cooper is great, and every other member of the main cast delivers, too. The score is definitely not top-tier Yazbek (I'd rank it far behind The Band's Visit and Women on the Verge, too) but in the context of the show it plays very well and it has a number of really good songs. I can see this winning Book and Actor and landing a lot of other nominations.

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John Adams
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#252
Posted: 4/19/19 at 12:47pm

bdn223 said: "I actually think the reveal actually works. His reveal immediately goes viral and becomes the talk of all morning talk shows and 24 hr news channels. If Dear Evan Hansencan get away with it as the catalyst for the plot, Tootsie can as well. [...] When was the last time something that happened in a Soap Opera, or even a Soap star went viral? "

To your first point, I (just personally) found the viral aspect to be too conveniently contrived and unbelievable; especially considering that the new setting is "Broadway musical" and it's 2019. Why would anyone find that circumstance to be so incredibly shocking? If there would be any reaction at all (in today's world), I would think it would be more like, "Meh... It's theater. Gender bending is normal."

I agree about your second point regarding Soap Operas not having the same status with viewers today that they did back in the 80s, but what if the TV show was "Scandal" (which is close to being a currently-aired Soap) and Kerry Washington were to suddenly reveal that she's actually, and has always been a man...?

yankeefan7
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#253
Posted: 4/19/19 at 12:58pm

"I agree about your second point regarding Soap Operas not having the same status with viewers today that they did back in the 80s, but what if the TV show was "Scandal" (which is close to being a currently-aired Soap) and Kerry Washington were to suddenly reveal that she's actually, and has always been a man...?"

Why not date the show back to the 1980's when the movie took place? Does everything have to be in the present? This way you could have kept the story pretty much the same. Just a thought.

yankeefan7
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#254
Posted: 4/19/19 at 1:03pm

"I also agree with the point made regarding excising the trip to Julie's home. In the movie, that was the heart of the film. That was the Act where Michael learned how to be "a man", as opposed to a womanizer. Musical Michael is missing that kind of character arc. Honestly, (and keeping in mind that I saw the show in Chicago) I didn't see that Michael had any kind of character arc at all."

Excellent point, that was a great part of the movie. I was fairly confident when I heard "Tootsie" was becoming a musical that this part of the movie would not make it into the show.

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John Adams
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#255
Posted: 4/19/19 at 1:12pm

yankeefan7 said: "Why not date the show back to the 1980's when the movie took place? Does everything have to be in the present? This way you could have kept the story pretty much the same. Just a thought."

No argument from me! ...and actually, by keeping it in the 80s, the relevance of "#metoo" elements would be more pointed. (I think, anyways...) wink

...but... the creatives didn't make that choice, so we got what we got.

Updated On: 4/19/19 at 01:12 PM
yankeefan7
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#256
Posted: 4/19/19 at 1:35pm

"I guess that’s easier said than done, but huge agree on Michael needing a proper arc in terms of discovery, as well as an upping of his public visibility. Maybe if the show were a Hamilton-sized hit and he took off his wig during, like, a widely-watched performance on the Today show or something? "

Love your idea about taking off wig during Today show performance. I thought it would be funnier if the show performed on Macy's parade and Dorothy takes the wig off and causes the TV sponsors to have heart failure -lol

Updated On: 4/19/19 at 01:35 PM
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TotallyEffed
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#257
Posted: 4/19/19 at 2:19pm
Or during a Tony acceptance speech.
Bdwy Lore
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#258
Posted: 4/20/19 at 1:38pm
I wrote this after I saw Tootsie in Chicago. The show was sensational, as was Santino Fontana.

John Berlmann in the role of Max is a double Wow! I had some trouble with Sarah Stiles who plays Sandy. She’s a bit too shrill. On a positive note, she reminds me of a young Bernadette Peters.
Loved how book writer Robert Horn took it from TV to stage, but there in lies a problem. When the ‘reveal’ comes, it was a comic gem on the screen, but in its present condition, it falls flat. There’s certainly time to fix it before Broadway. I hope they do.

David Yazbek has written well-crafted lyrics that advance the show’s plot. He has a patter song for Sandy (Sarah Stiles) that bests Sondheim, which she sings to perfection.

With no song list in the program, it was difficult to recall all the songs. Some of his music is traditional Broadway. A blues number sung by Julie (Lilli Cooper) is stunning. The music entertained me, but I didn’t leave the theater humming a song.

I haven't seen the NY version, but from what I've read in these posts, the reveal hasn't been properly fixed and I believe critics will take that to heart when reviewing.
yankeefan7
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#259
Posted: 4/20/19 at 3:13pm

"Once again to use Dear Evan Hansen as an example, Ben Platt became an overnight sensation. In 2019 a lead in a new Broadway show's fame level is on par or even higher than that of a Soap Opera star. When was the last time something that happened in a Soap Opera, or even a Soap star went viral? The Daytime Emmy's haven't been televised since 2015, and haven't been on broadcast television since 2012. The Tony's, say what you will, are still broadcast on CBS. "

 Susan Lucci back in the 1980's was a major star (All My Children) and everybody in the country knew her.  There were no bigger stars in the country than Anthony Geary and Genie Frances during the 1980's when people took off work to watch their wedding (believe it had over 25 million viewers) on General Hospital. I am willing to bet I could walk down Times Square now and ask people who Ben Platt is and the majority of the people would not know him. You don't hear anything about Soap Operas anymore because that type of show is basically dead but in the time period of the Tootsie movie it was incredibly popular.

Updated On: 4/20/19 at 03:13 PM
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MarilynMonroeSmash
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#260
Posted: 5/16/19 at 1:26pm

I know Triton has a window card, but are they selling it at the theater yet?

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Jordan Catalano
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#261
Posted: 5/16/19 at 4:20pm
Yeah, I saw windowcards for sale at the show last night.
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GeorgeandDot
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#262
Posted: 5/16/19 at 5:36pm
There are window cards available at the theatre.
RWPrincess
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#263
Posted: 5/17/19 at 1:21am
I was there tonight and people were having them signed at the stage door. A couple of the actors seemed shocked at the window cards and programs so they must be fairly new.
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SweetLips22
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#264
Posted: 5/18/19 at 2:39pm

A quick question. Why does Dorothy wear glasses and Michael doesn't? Is it just to further aid the female 'disguise' and cover not wearing eye makeup like the quick change seen on the TV spot.

Jarethan
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#265
Posted: 5/25/19 at 12:59am

I saw this at the Wednesday matinee.  The show was stopped for about two minutes, with the cast going off stage very 'fluidly', as if it were  part of the performance.  Made me wonder if they rehearse for such an inevitability.

Now about the show, I thought the book and the performances were outstanding, across the board.  I can only remember laughing at a musical comedy this much one other time...the Producers.

The problem that I had was that this was a MUSICAL Comedy, and I thought the music was borderline atrocious.  Leaving the theatre, I could not remember a single song that Michael or Dorothy sang, which can't be good for a musical.  (While I thought Fontana gave a solid performance, I don't feel as strongly about his performance as the reviewers did, because I felt that his performance was hindered by the absence of anything worth singing. Similarly, I loved the idea of an overture -- I love good overtures -- but all the overture or entr'acte did here were establish that there were not likely to be any good songs to come...if those were the best they could showcase, OMG.  Finally, at least at my performance, the first Act curtain did not end with heavy applause, again because the number was constrained by mediocre music.  

But I did have a smile on my face much of the time...because of the book.  I will be shocked if the book writers don't win the Tony.

In some ways this show reminded me of a big-budget The Prom.  The best thing about The Prom IMO were the book and the leading performances, as with Tootsie.  While I  thought the Prom was pretty mediocre overall, I still had a smile on my face a lot, also due to the book..  I thought the score was mediocre (thought, I think better than Tootsie's), and the production values were cheesy.  Tootsie's sets may have cost more, but they were still not interesting.

Unlike The Prom, I can't  figure out what they can do on the Tony's that will serve the show well.  I don't see it winning musical; if, in addition to that, the musical performance doesn't make much of an impression, that could hurt the show's future business.

bear88
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#266
Posted: 5/25/19 at 4:58am

Tootsie was the first show of our trip, and we barely made it. (When people on this board tell you to take public transit from JFK on a Friday evening, listen. But we ran through Times Square and got discount tickets in the mezzanine.)

So perhaps my relief at seeing a show at all colored my impressions, but I enjoyed the musical, even though it was basically a well-written sitcom with songs. Robert Horn keeps throwing jokes at the audience, and a pretty high percentage of them are funny. I'm also helped by the fact that I have forgotten a lot of the film, so I don't have an attachment to it. (A daytime soap opera really wouldn't work now anyway, although a Broadway show in previews isn't that much better.) 

Most of the supporting characters shine. Sarah Stiles, as Michel's ex, gets the best song of the show, "What's Gonna Happen," and she runs off with it. Andy Grotelueschen and John Behlmann are a lot of fun as Michael's roommate and co-star. It's a silly and very old-fashioned comedy, and I understand the objections to the basic idea of the show in 2019 and the way it's executed. I wasn't really looking forward to it much myself, just wanted a comedy after a long flight and read a lot of recommendations saying I'd laugh. And I did. So did my family.

Horn's "throw every joke at the wall" approach falls apart a bit in Act 2. One scene in particular, when Michael tries to use Julie's confessions to Dorothy of what she wants in a man to impress her, falls flat and makes Julie (who isn't the most exciting character to begin with) and. Michael seem rather dense. I agree with the folks who say the reveal doesn't work, both as a scene by itself (it's a bore) and as another example - late in the show - that Michael is still too self-absorbed to think of how his actions will affect anyone else. I didn't object to the quieter ending, which seemed like the only way to go, as Michael never really stops being a jerk.

I didn't dislike the score as much as many here, and I was impressed with the ensemble and choreography. It looked good from the mezzanine. As Michael, Santino Fontana didn't give my favorite male lead performance of my trip, but he did a very capable job in the role. It's a comedy. He's the lead and was funny. That's a success. 

Updated On: 5/25/19 at 04:58 AM
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SweetLips22
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#267
Posted: 5/25/19 at 4:09pm

Why does 'everything', film to stage, have to be 'the musical'.

It seems from what I read on here that practically all seem to fall flat with The Music.

I love musicals for that fact, the music, but why can't some of these very successful moves be adapted for the stage as eg Tootsie-The Play?

bear88
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#268
Posted: 5/25/19 at 4:23pm

I'm sure other folks more knowledgeable than me can think of more examples. Two hits this season are To Kill a Mockingbird and Network, though.

I suspect most producers think their chances for a bigger hit/longer run are to turn these movies into musicals. 

NYCblurb
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TOOTSIE the Musical: PREVIEWS START#269
Posted: 5/27/19 at 8:31am

Look, I think with comedy, you know what you know and you get to take the leap or not. We knew Don Knotts wasn't the characters we played, and in fact knew him to be a smart and meek man in real life yet we celebrated him playing roles. Similarly, we are all in on the joke, you know? We know the set up so you either roll with it or you do not. 

Horn's book is no joke, our modern day Brooks, Gelbart and Burnett. I hope the whole show is on a double cast album.

One doesn't have to hate Hadestown (I really liked it) to adore another, in this case Tootsie. I like to laugh, enjoy fun and a pun, and don't do either much at the theater like I get to do at Tootsie anymore. The choice this year with these two frontrunners is clear: a broad comedic musical by two American musical gems (Yazbek/Horn) up against a delightful small allegory on death, love and dying staged beautifully! You get my sway, and in the BEST PLAY column, I best loved FERRYMAN in a very good year for plays.

 

A lover of theater for decades. Teacher by day. Family man by night. See more theater than most, oftentimes a hesitant plus one.

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