Tootsie Is a Feel-Good Musical with Fun-Loving Cast

Photo Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made

Tootsie is a musical comedy based on the 1982 comedy film starring Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange. It follows an actor who is struggling to achieve his dream of becoming a Broadway actor. Success starts when he earned a part in a musical disguised as a woman. But things get complicated as more lies build up between him and his castmate. Tootsie is an entertaining musical, and each actor gets to bring out their unique individuality.

Drew Becker as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels. He has great comedic timing and is good at switching between the two opposite personalities. He exudes passion and confidence. Ashley Alexandra as Julie Nichols is Dorothy’s fellow castmate in the Juliet’s Nurse musical. She has a soft and comforting voice and one can’t help but like her and feel empathetic toward her. The chemistry between the two actors could have been stronger. As a result, their relationship wasn’t as electrifying.

Jared David Michael Grant as Jeff Slater is the roommate and acts as the voice of reason. He’s very funny on the stage and plays off well with Becker’s Michael/Dorothy. Payton Reilly as Sandy Lester is Michael’s ex and friend, and she captures the anxious and neurotic personality of the character. For her singing, I wished there was more of a variety of emotions in the songs. Lukas James Miller is Max Van Horn, an actor who plays Romeo’s brother in Juliet’s Nurse. He did a great job as a narcissistic person and was wonderful playing a bad actor.

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

The production for Tootsie is creative with a lot of details. The show was able to bring out the spirit of New York City. For example, there’s the Juliet’s Nurse advertisement in the subway that was a nice touch. The transition was impressive and seamless. The storytelling, choreography and stage direction were well done. There’s an apartment scene where Max is outside, singing his heart out to Dorothy, and she is looking down from the window. The actors are on the same stage, but the scene did a good job of conveying perceived height and distance.

The music is upbeat and fun. Each character has a moment to shine through the songs. Alexandra puts a lot of heart into her singing, and Becker has a lot of energy that enhances his two characters. There are memorable dance moves that are enjoyable.

Final Reaction

Tootsie has an empowering message of persistence and redemption and showcases the struggles of women on Broadway. It’s a feel-good story with a fun-loving cast and amazing production design.

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