Tuesday, 16 October 2018

In the boffo Broadway-bound ‘Tootsie,’ Dorothy is really funny — and can really sing

In the boffo Broadway-bound ‘Tootsie,’ Dorothy is really funny — and can really sing
01 Oct

The best moment in “Tootsie,” which opened its pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago on Sunday night, is not when the remarkable Santino Fontana first appears in a dress as Dorothy, the ill-advised creation of an out-of-work actor turned by the relentless cruelty of a rejection-heavy biz into a two-bit, Midtown version of Dr. Frankenstein. It is when Fontana first opens his mouth to sing.

By intermission at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the lobbies were buzzing with two questions: How does he sound like that? And can he really do that every night of the week?

This bodes very well indeed for the Broadway-bound “Tootsie,” first and foremost because it reveals that the creative team of the composer David Yazbek, the book writer Robert Horn and the director Scott Ellis have figured out the tricky task of how to make the 1982 Sydney Pollock movie titter and totter confidently inside the high heels of a musical.

If you want a hit show, you have to provide an early moment when an audience — content that its hard-earned cash was not spent in vain — is sufficiently impressed that it relaxes, thus opening its collective heart to what is to come, even if that requires a forgiving spirit. Fontana earns that crucial moment for “Tootsie” not just by other-worldly control of the larynx, but through stellar, old-fashioned comedic acting, demonstrably rooted in the pain and truth of his out-of-work Michael. By the time he is done, I’ll wager this will go down as a truly great Broadway performance.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/reviews/ct-ent-tootsie-review-1002-story.html


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