Comedy Classic ‘Tootsie’ Rolling Towards Broadway


The trend of “film-to-musical adaptations” for marketable entertainment concepts continues with Sydney Pollack’s 1982 film Tootsie getting repackaged as a stage musical.

Composer/lyricist David Yazbek, now basking in the Tony buzz surrounding The Band’s Visit, is the brains behind the Tootsie theatrical endeavor. The original comedy is about New York unemployed actor Michael Dorsey finding work in drag under the name Dorothy Michaels on a soap opera. The now-classic movie, nominated for 9 Academy Awards, starred two-time Oscar winner and prominent entry on the #MeToo sexual misconduct list Dustin Hoffman. Jessica Lange won the first of her two Academy Awards for a supporting role in Tootsie as Hoffman’s love interest. The flick also featured the lovable Teri Garr, Bill Murray, an early role for Geena Davis, and director Sydney Pollack playing Dorsey’s agent.

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Scott Ellis (She Loves Me) will direct the stage revamp. The role of Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels will go to Santino Fontana, known for the TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and as the voice of Hans in Frozen. Fontana is no stranger to Broadway and off-Broadway, having appeared in such notable plays as Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Billy Elliot, Sunday in the Park with George and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Tootsie will have a pre-Broadway run in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre September 11 to October 14, 2018, hopefully getting to Broadway in Spring 2019. Scott Sanders Productions is producing.

Yazbeck’s The Band’s Visit was inspired by 2007 indie Israeli film of the same name. He has applied the stage-musical spin to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty and Bombay Dreams. Katrina Lenk (who stars in The Band’s Visit) audience-tested a tune from the Tootsie score at Feinstein’s 54 Below to “great enthusiasm.”

Robert Horn (13; Dame Edna, Back with a Vengeance) will do the book, and Denis Jones (Holiday Inn, Honeymoon in Vegas) will choreograph. Band’s Visit holdover Andrea Grody has got the musical direction. The look of Tootsie on stage is in the hands of scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Donald Holder, and sound designer Brian Ronan.

Further cast and crew announcements are expected soon. Roll, Tootsie, roll!


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