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A Dialog with the Stars of Tootsie

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Impressed by the hit 1982 movie, Tootsie is now a musical inside a musical at The Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. I cherished the film which premiered 40 years in the past. After re-watching Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Invoice Murray and Sydney Pollack, I noticed how a lot politically right definitions have modified prior to now 4 many years.

Robert Horn’s Tony-winning guide efficiently transforms many components of the hit film to handle present problems with gender variety and ladies’s rights. The musical offers stronger feminine voices, each in music and in area, permitting ladies alternatives to be seen, heard and valued.

Forty-year-old Michael Dorsey (performed sweetly by Drew Becker) is a struggling opinionated actor till he auditions as Dorothy Michaels, a lady, for the Broadway musical “Juliet’s Curse.” He quickly falls for co-star Julie Nichols (Ashley Alexandra, with a knockout voice) and has to cope with advances from co-workers and juggling his personal insecurities with alter ego Dorothy’s inspirational and virtuous persona.

 

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Standout numbers embody Payton Reilly’s (as Michael’s ex-girlfriend actress Sandy) impossibly fast “What’s Gonna Occur,” Jared David Michael Grant’s (as Jeff, Michael’s author good friend and roommate) “Jeff Sums It Up,” and additional laughs are supplied by Adam DuPlessis as director Ron Carlisle, Lukas James as realty star turned actor Max Van Horn and Steve Brustein as agent Stan Fields.  Alexandra and Becker shine when performing the touching “Who Are You?” and every have ovation worthy numbers with Becker’s “Unstoppable” and Alexandra’s “Gone, Gone, Gone.”

Scenic designer Christine Peters seamlessly transfers areas between the New York skyline and Michael and Jeff’s condo with intelligent shifting cubes.

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I sat down with Tootsie stars Ashley Alexandra and Drew Becker for a chat about performing within the hit musical.

SE: What was the method for each of you to get your elements in Tootsie?

AA: Drew and I really didn’t meet till our first rehearsal due to COVID. We did all of our auditions and chemistry studying by way of Zoom. I first discovered I that I used to be going to be the understudy in December and in Could I discovered I received bumped as much as the character of Julie. I used to be screaming with pleasure on my own in a random lodge in Connecticut.

DB: I used to be requested to audition for the ensemble at first and appeared on the dance name and determined I in all probability shouldn’t submit for the ensemble (laughter from each). I felt the one character I actually match was Michael Dorsey. I used to be really stunned once I discovered I received the half.

SE: Drew, you’re a lot taller than Dustin Hoffman and also you undergo many wardrobe and make-up adjustments between taking part in Michael and taking part in Dorothy, was {that a} problem?

DB: It was difficult at first as we’ve a number of actually fast adjustments, however I’ve a wonderful SWAT workforce backstage and it’s actually a workforce effort. They’re wonderful.

SE: Did both of you see the film Tootsie earlier than you took on the roles?

AA: I selected to not. One of the best ways to not by chance fall into another person’s model of a job is to simply by no means see it. I learn the textual content and found out how the position spoke to me.

DB: I did watch it once I received my first appointment for the position. I noticed the unique Broadway musical manufacturing in Could of 2019. I by no means anticipated to be taking part in the position of Michael and Dorothy.

SE: The storyline has modified fairly a bit from the plot of the film which opened 40 years in the past.

How a lot enter did you each have of updating the storyline?

AA: Quite a lot of adjustments occurred previous to the musical opening on Broadway and that needed to do with Robert Horn and the way diligent he was to ensure he was addressing present points. On the finish of the day he was writing a present that handled a whole lot of ladies’s points and the way ladies cope with the world. At some point, Robert requested myself and Brianna Thompson, our Assistant Stage Supervisor, to offer enter on a number of scenes and that was actually particular to me. There have been a whole lot of occasions on this course of the place I used to be requested what I believed, and infrequently you don’t get that. I’m actually fortunate.

DB: Robert gained a Tony award for writing the guide for Tootsie. He might have simply come into rehearsals and never modified something or gotten enter. Even after he gained the very best award you may obtain for writing a guide of a musical, he nonetheless wished to enhance it and adapt it primarily based on the actors and our concepts. It was so extremely collaborative. I felt like an unique solid member.

SE: You’ve gotten nice chemistry each on and off the stage. Did you collaborate rather a lot collectively previous to the opening and work with the ensemble to finesse your characters?

AA: The ensemble to me might be one of the best character within the present. They work so laborious and they’re very supportive. I believe a whole lot of it’s having the ability to deliver your self into the room and really feel snug.

DB: It’s actually laborious to not break whereas onstage. The comedy that all the solid brings is wonderful. It looks like we’re performing a Neil Simon play with music. There are additionally a whole lot of parallels between our actual relationship and the connection within the present. We had been two actors strolling right into a present and wished to help one another, simply as within the play.

SE: How did you’re feeling performing on the Dolby, the place the Oscars are held?

DB: There’s a scene the place we stroll into Julie’s condo Ashley began to interrupt down.

AA: I’ve a mini- monologue in that scene the place I say &ldquo

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