When the 1982 movie “Tootsie,” starring Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey, hit the cinemas, the box office tills didn’t stop ringing. In fact, it became the second-highest-grossing film of that year (second only to Steven Spielberg’s legendary “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”) and went on to win three Golden Globes (for “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” and for Mr. Hoffman and his co-star Jessica Lange for their respective performances) and receive a staggering ten Oscar nominations (with Ms. Lange ultimately getting the nod for her portrayal of Julie Nichols).
Ever since then “Tootsie” has remained a firm favorite for movie buffs across the globe, thanks in particular to Hoffman’s iconic performance as uber-difficult actor Michael Dorsey, who, after being told by his agent that nobody will work with him (or offer him work) anymore, comes up with the outlandish idea of presenting himself as a woman by the name of Dorothy Michaels to land a female role that would change his life in more ways than one. Witness the fun and the frolics, but also the lessons learned by a man becoming a woman in a man’s world.
A musical adaptation of the cherished film was rumoured to be in development for a number of years until it was made official in January 2018 that Tootsie would indeed land on Broadway and that it has fallen to Tony Award nominee Santino Fontana to originate the role of Michael Dorsey for the stage. A seasoned Broadway veteran with credits ranging from Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella to Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge and Billy Elliot – The Musical, most will know Mr. Fontana as the voice of Prince Hans, the antagonist in Disney’s animated classic “Frozen,” or as Greg Serrano on the hit TV series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” In short, if there’s anybody ready to take on the daunting task of Michael Dorsey (and Dorothy Michaels, of course) then it’s him.
For the musical, Robert Horn has written a new book, switching the movie’s soap opera setting to the industry that is Broadway, and David Yazbek has provided the score. Mr. Yazbek is, of course, no stranger to the screen-to-stage adaptation genre, having already written Tony-nominated music and lyrics for Broadway shows such as The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and, more recently, a Tony-winning score for The Band’s Visit.
The pre-Broadway world premiere engagement of Tootsie was staged at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre from September 11 through to October 14, 2018, with the Broadway premiere beginning performances on March 29, 2019, ahead of an official opening at the Marquis Theatre on April 23.
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(Photos by Matthew Murphy)