By Colin Douglas
On September 11, a brand-new Broadway-bound musical comedy will open in the Windy City at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 West Randolph Street. In the tradition of other shows like The Producers, The Addams Family, and, more recently, Pretty Woman, another favorite, classic movie has found its way to the stage.
Tootsie tells the hilarious yet heartwarming story of a very talented but difficult-to-work-with actor, named Michael Dorsey. When his long-suffering agent tells Michael that no one will hire him, because he’s too much of a perfectionist, Dorsey decides to try a different approach. He transforms himself into a woman in order to land a prestigious role in a top-rated daytime drama called Southwest General. He becomes a brassy, no-nonsense actress named Dorothy Michaels, and his feisty audition wins him the role hospital administrator, Emily Kimberly.
It isn’t long before Dorothy Michaels turns Southwest General on its ear. Instead of being the typical, swooning soap opera femme fatale character, Michaels is a sassy, pro-active woman who refuses to take crap from anyone. His character is an instant hit among the show’s many female fans and an audience sensation with the whole country. But soon, problems develop when Michael Dorsey falls in love with his lovely TV costar, Julie Nichols. And even more complications arise when Julie’s own father develops a romantic interest in Dorothy Michaels. Throughout all the intricacies and entanglements, Michael Dorsey learns an important lesson about women in today’s society. He finally admits to Sandy that, “I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man.”
Adapted for the the stage by Robert Horn, the score and lyrics for this promising new musical is by talented Tony Award-winner, David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit, The Full Monty). The production will be directed by seven-time Tony Award nominee and Olivier Award-winner Scott Ellis (She Loves Me, On the Twentieth Century). Mr. Ellis will be ably assisted by Musical Director Andrea Grody (The Band’s Visit) and Choreographer Denis Jones (Holiday Inn, Honeymoon in Vegas).
Taking the leading role of Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels, the part that Dustin Hoffman made famous on the silver screen, will be Santino Fontana. Fontana received a Tony nomination for portraying the handsome Prince Charming in the Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Playing the Oscar-winning Jessica Lange role of Julie Nichols is lovely, talented Lilli Cooper, fresh from her Broadway appearance as Sandy Cheeks in SpongeBob Squarepants. Jeff Slater, Dorsey’s best friend, will be portrayed by Andy Grotelueschen; Michael’s hardworking agent, Stan Fields, will be played by Michael McGrath; and Michael’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, Sandy Lester, will be brought to life by Sarah Stiles. Completing the cast, in supporting roles, are John Behlmann, Julie Halston and Reg Rogers.
Chicago has become the go-to city for new, Broadway-bound musicals. This production will open September 11 and play for five weeks, through October 14, at the beautiful Cadillac Palace Theatre. Following this world premiere, Scott Sanders Productions plans a Broadway opening in the Spring of 2019. Tickets are currently available at all Broadway in Chicago box offices, by calling the Chicago Ticket Line at 800-775-2000 or by going to www.BroadwayInChicago.com.