Friday, July 1, 2022

EUR Theater Review: ‘Tootsie The Musical’ – Tootsie Experiences Diversity

*The touring company of the Tony Award-winning musical “Tootsie The Musical” has made its way to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where performances will run through May 15, 2022. I attended opening night and didn’t know what to expect from a musical created based off a climate that has changed since the original movie was made in 1982.

The concept is the same, but the content of the musical has been updated to account for the women’s rights movement and gender diversity. There were several points in the musical where either the women’s rights movement or gender diversity was addressed. However, it was done in such a way as to not take away from the fact the musical was a comedy and funny it was, for the most part.

In the 1982 movie, which starred Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Jessica Lange and others, Michael Dorsey (Hoffman) was an out-of-work actor who pretended to be a woman, Dorothy Michaels, so he could get a part on a soap opera. In the musical version, Michael Dorsey is still an out-of-work actor looking for work, but now he is trying to land a part in a musical.

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Tootsie the Musical (cast)

The touring company cast is funny and talented. The major players were Drew Becker (Michael/Dorothy), Ashley Alexandra (Julie), Payton Reilly (Sandy) and Jared David Michael Grant (Jeff). Jared David Michael Grant’s performance as Michael’s roommate, Jeff, stole the show, with a close second being Payton Reilly’s performance as Michael’s neurotic friend, Sandy. By far the strongest singer in the bunch was Ashley Alexandra, who gave a strong performance, in both songs and acting.

Tootsie The Musical has something for everyone. Jeff, although the grounded voice of reason, was funny as all get out, especially when he explained in the song, “Jeff Sums it Up,” how Michael, “F’d it up.” Sandy was equally as funny (and ditzy) in her performance of, “What’s Gonna Happen,” as she neurotically explained what happens in her auditions. Julie was the sweet one with the angelic voice. The other characters had moments that received laughs from the audience as well. The entire cast and ensemble more than held their own, basically.

Dustin Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Michael/Dorothy and Santino Fontano won a Tony for his Broadway performance. No awards should be coming Drew Becker’s way, because although his performance was okay, he was the weakest link in the chain and actually better when singing as Dorothy than as Michael. That does not mean the show is not worth seeing because it is. Tootsie was well put together, very entertaining and makes for a pleasant night out. If you need a laugh, check it out now through May 15, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles-based writer/reviewer. Contact her via MzSportsJunkie@gmail.com

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