Santino Fontana and company members of Tootsie

A New York Theatre Guide to... Tootsie!

Here's all you need to know about the Broadway premiere of this sparkling musical comedy...

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

With a fabulous total of no less than 11 Tony Award nominations (including "Best Musical"), the Broadway premiere of Tootsie is as critically acclaimed as it is crowd-pleasing! Based on the 1982 Dustin Hoffman-led movie and adapted for the Broadway stage by Robert Horn, Tootsie originally premiered at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre in September 2018, before heading to the Great White Way and beginning performances at the Marquis Theatre on March 29, 2019. After the dust settled on the official opening night of April 23, one thing was clear: everybody needs a bit of Tootsie in their lives...


What's it all about?

Tootsie follows exasperating actor Michael Dorsey, who has burnt pretty much every bridge on every job he has ever taken. When his agent tells him that nobody wants to work with him anymore and after he helps his unhinged ex - and out of work actress - Sandy prepare for an audition for a big role, he decides that drastic times call for drastic measures. Michael poses as a woman, creating the alter ego of Dorothy Michaels, and manages to land that very role... and becomes a sensation! Matters get complicated when Dorothy falls for her colleague and leading lady, Julie, as it becomes increasingly evident Michael can no longer carry on deceiving his friends and co-workers. But will walking a mile in a woman's shoes in a man's world make a better human being out of this once egotistical actor?


Who's starring in it?

The original cast of Tootsie is led by two-time Tony Award nominee Santino Fontana, giving a tour-de-force and comically brilliant performance as both Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels. Aside from appearing regularly on the Broadway stage over the past decade with standout performances in the likes of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, Act One, and The Importance of Being Earnest, Fontana has also carved out an impressive career in the worlds of film and television. His most notable roles include Greg Serrano on The CW's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," David Saperstein on NBC's "Shades of Blue," Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle," and, of course, Prince Hans in the 2013 Disney animated classic "Frozen". Fontana is joined in the original company by a host of Broadway's finest, including Lilli Cooper, Sarah Stiles and Andy Groteleuschen, who have all earned Tony Award nominations for their respective performances as Julie, Sandy, and Jeff, Michael's friend and roommate.


What's special about this production?

One of the brilliant decisions made in the creative process of Tootsie was not to produce a word-for-word, film-to-stage adaptation of the 1982 movie. Instead, Robert Horn has cleverly set the story away from a television soap opera and into the world of a Broadway musical itself, allowing an avalanche of in-jokes for the theatre-savvy in the audience. Tootsie is about as good as an old-fashioned musical comedy gets and, at its very essence, serves as a tongue-in-cheek, but loving homage to the genre. The musical also delicately neutralizes the source material's issue of a man taking away a paid job from a deserving woman and even addresses the trans movement of today. In addition, David Yazbek's original score fits the nostalgic musical comedies of yesteryear feel like a glove and, quite simply put, Tootsie is the funniest new musical we have seen on the Great White Way in a very long time.


Who would we recommend it to?

Aside from fans of the original movie, we'd also recommend Tootsie to those who just can't get enough of the two greatest words in the English language... musical comedy! So, if you liked Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles, The Producers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Guys and Dolls, or any other recent or classic entries into this joyous genre, you'll surely feel like you've ascended into theatrical heaven at Tootsie. And, ladies, this is probably a great choice to drag your husbands, boyfriends or partners out for a special date night too!


Tootsie Tickets are available now.

(Photos by Matthew Murphy)


Originally published on

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