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It was inevitable that “Tootsie,” Sydney Pollack’s much-loved 1982 romcom about an out-of-work actor who dresses in drag to nail a soap-opera role, would sooner or later be turned into a big-ticket commodity musical. The good news is that the job has been done more competently than anyone had any reason to expect…
Soaps having long since become all but extinct, Michael Dorsey (Santino Fontana) is now trying to get cast as the nurse in an inept musical version of “Romeo and Juliet.” Otherwise, Robert Horn’s book tracks the screenplay fairly closely, with a not-so-surprising pre-intermission surprise (you’ll see it coming a mile off) and a stiff dose of eat-your-kale #MeToo-style feminism stirred in to keep the progressives comfy.
The score is by David Yazbek (lately of “The Band’s Visit”), a craftsman of the top rank whose songs, all of which are adroitly slotted into the book, propel the plot in classic school-of-Hammerstein style….
The catch, of course, is that “Tootsie” doesn’t need to be a musical: Like “Groundhog Day,” it’s perfect as is. In particular, the Larry Gelbart-Murray Schisgal screenplay is unimprovable, a fact driven home every time you hear a punchline spoken onstage that was derived from the movie…
I would absolutely have paid to see Sarah Stiles sing “What’s Gonna Happen,” the show-stopping comic number about her neurotic insecurities (“I know what’s gonna happen/Don’t tell me that I don’t/And don’t say that I’ll rise/To the occasion, cause I won’t”) that is the freshest thing about this new version….
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Sarah Stiles sings David Yazbek’s “What’s Gonna Happen” (from the stage version of Tootsie) at BroadwayCon 2019: