Tootsie (musical)

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MusicDavid Yazbek
LyricsDavid Yazbek
BookRobert Horn
by Larry Gelbart
Murray Schisgal
Don McGuire
PremiereSeptember 11, 2018 (2018-09-11): Cadillac Palace Theatre
Productions2018 Chicago
2019 Broadway
AwardsTony Award for Best Book of a Musical

Tootsie is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by David Yazbek and a book by Robert Horn. The musical is based on the 1982 American comedy film of the same name written by Larry Gelbart, Barry Levinson (uncredited), Elaine May (uncredited) and Murray Schisgal from the story by Gelbart and Don McGuire. The musical made its world premiere try-out at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago in September 2018. Like the film, the musical tells the story of a talented but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult forces him to adopt a new identity as a woman in order to land a job. The original movie revolved around a daytime soap opera, while the show involves a Broadway musical.


The musical had an industry reading in June 2017. Santino Fontana played the lead role of actor Michael, who transforms into "Dorothy" to obtain a role. Scott Ellis replaced Casey Nicholaw as director.[1]

The stage musical version of Tootsie premiered in previews at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, beginning September 11, 2018, with an opening at the Palace on September 30, and a run to October 14, 2018.[2][3] The musical has music and lyrics by David Yazbek with the book by Robert Horn, choreography by Denis Jones, scenic design by David Rockwell, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Donald Holder and direction by Scott Ellis.[4][5]

Santino Fontana stars as Michael Dorsey,[6] with Lilli Cooper as Julie Nichols, Sarah Stiles as Sandy Lester, John Behlmann as Max Van Horn, Andy Grotelueschen as Jeff Slater, Julie Halston as Rita Mallory, Michael McGrath as Stan Fields and Reg Rogers as Ron Carlisle.[3][7]

The Broadway production began previews on March 29, 2019 at the Marquis Theatre and opened on April 23, 2019.[8][9] The production closed on January 5, 2020, having played 293 regular and 25 preview performances.[10]

On May 16, 2019, it was announced that a Non-Equity US national tour will begin in 2020 at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre in New York. It was also announced that a West End production would open the following year. Finally, additional productions were announced for New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. Exact dates and casts for these productions will be announced in the future.[11]


  • Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels - a struggling actor
  • Julie Nichols - an actress currently starring as Juliet in Juliet's Nurse
  • Sandy Lester - an out-of-work actress and friend of Michael and Jeff
  • Jeff Slater - Michael's roommate, an unsuccessful playwright
  • Max Van Horn - a reality star currently starring as Craig, Romeo's brother, in Juliet's Nurse
  • Rita Marshall - the producer of Juliet's Nurse
  • Ron Carlisle - the director and choreographer of Juliet's Nurse
  • Stan Fields - Michael's agent
  • Suzie and Stuart - the book writers for Juliet's Nurse
  • Carl - the stage manager for Juliet's Nurse


Critic Chris Jones praised the musical in its Chicago premiere for getting many things right, while giving notes for the future Broadway production. In particular, he praised the talent of its lead Santino Fontana.[12] While Michael Phillips commented on the difficulty of translating the early 1980s movie to stage − especially in an era of more gender fluidity – Phillips noted the reviews have ranged "from so-so to very good", while also observing the "opening night laughs were plentiful and the performances savvy".[13]

In her review of the Broadway production in Variety, Marilyn Stasio wrote "The new Broadway adaptation of Tootsie is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser... this affectionate sendup of a Broadway musical (replacing the movie’s soap opera setting) and its uniquely unlikely star. Director Scott Ellis leaves nothing and no one unscathed in staging this satire of a Broadway-bound musical called Juliet’s Nurse...That’s the mixed blessing of Yazbek’s score: the lyrics are so smart, the music can’t always catch up with them... The story holds no surprises for anyone who’s seen the movie, but Horn sprinkles the show’s book with clever one-liners... Well-cast character actors demonstrate their bankable skills at character acting."[14]

Musical numbers[edit]

Source: Playbill[15]

Original casts[edit]

Character Chicago (2018)[2] Broadway (2019)
Michael Dorsey Santino Fontana
Julie Nichols Lilli Cooper
Sandy Lester Sarah Stiles
Jeff Slater Andy Grotelueschen
Max Van Horn John Behlmann
Rita Marshall Julie Halston
Ron Carlisle Reg Rogers
Stan Fields Michael McGrath
Suzie Britney Coleman

Awards and nominations[edit]

Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
Tony Awards[16] Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Robert Horn Won
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre David Yazbek Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Scott Ellis Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Santino Fontana Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Andy Grotelueschen Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Lilli Cooper Nominated
Sarah Stiles Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Musical William Ivey Long Nominated
Best Choreography Denis Jones Nominated
Best Orchestrations Simon Hale Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[17] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Robert Horn Won
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) David Yazbek Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Scott Ellis Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer Denis Jones Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical) William Ivey Long Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Santino Fontana Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical John Behlmann Nominated
Reg Rogers Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Sarah Stiles Nominated
Drama Critics' Circle Awards Best Musical Won
Drama Desk Awards[18] Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Santino Fontana Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Sarah Stiles Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Scott Ellis Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Denis Jones Nominated
Outstanding Music David Yazbek Won
Outstanding Lyrics Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Robert Horn Won
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical William Ivey Long Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Brian Ronan Nominated
Outstanding Wig and Hair Design Paul Huntley Nominated
Drama League Awards[19] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Santino Fontana Nominated Audience Awards[20] Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Nominated


  1. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "New Director Boards 'Tootsie' Musical Ahead of June Reading" Playbill, May 22, 2017
  2. ^ a b Hetrick, Adam. "Broadway-Bound 'Tootsie' Musical, Starring Santino Fontana, Opens in Chicago" Playbill, September 30, 2018
  3. ^ a b Jones, Chris (September 11, 2018). "The musical 'Tootsie' is much changed — goodbye, soaps — as it tells the story of an actor and his Dorothy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  4. ^ Tootsie, retrieved September 12, 2018
  5. ^ Jones, Chris. " 'Tootsie' Review" Chicago Tribune, October 1, 2018
  6. ^ McPhee, Ryan. " 'Tootsie' Musical, Starring Santino Fontana, Will Play Chicago Before 2019 Broadway Premiere" Playbill, January 24, 2018
  7. ^ McPhee, Ryan. " 'Tootsie' Musical, Starring Santino Fontana, Sets Broadway Dates and Theatre" Playbill, August 9, 2018
  8. ^ Araujo, Roberto (26 March 2019). "What to Expect From Broadway's Tootsie Musical". Playbill. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  9. ^ Tootsie, accessed February 20, 2019
  10. ^ Evans, Greg (2019-11-12). "Broadway's 'Tootsie' Announces Closing Date; Musical Won Two Tonys But Peaked Too Early". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-11-12.
  11. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 16, 2019). "Tootsie Musical Sets National Tour, London Bow, and More". Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  12. ^ Jones, Chris (October 1, 2018). "In the boffo Broadway-bound 'Tootsie,' Dorothy sings". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  13. ^ Phillips, Michael (October 4, 2018). "Why 'Tootsie' struggles to make itself into a musical in 2018". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  14. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Broadway Review: ‘Tootsie’" Variety, April 23, 2019
  15. ^ " Tootsie Inside the Playbill, p. 3" Playbill (vault), retrieved April 24, 2019
  16. ^ "Full List of the 2019 Tony Award Nominees". The New York Times. 2019-04-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  17. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-23). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  18. ^ "Drama Desk Awards 2019 Nominees". Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  19. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-17). "Nominations Announced for 85th Annual Drama League Awards". Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  20. ^ Evans, George (2019-04-19). "'Be More Chill', 'Pretty Woman' Top Broadway's Audience Choice Awards". Retrieved 2019-05-19.

External links[edit]