Sunday, May 19, 2024

Broadway Suffers First Major Loss from 2019 Season: “Tootsie” with 11 Tony Nods Will Close In January 2020


#RIP “Tootsie.”

Nominated for 11 Tony’s, winner of two including Best Actor and Best Book, “Tootsie” will shuffle off to Buffalo next on a national tour. But come January, the musical based on the great Dustin Hoffman movie will close shop.

“Tootsie” opened literally against another terrific musical based on a movie, “Beetlejuice.” “Tootsie” got better reviews and was even in the lead at one point to win the Tony for Best Musical. (“Hadestown” won.)

For a while, with just the 2 awards, it did pretty well at the box office. But then summer came, and it was ironically overtaken by “Beetlejuice.” The latter was actually my favorite of the two. “Beetlejuice” is now playing at nearly sold out houses, 100% of capacity. “Tootsie” is down to 78%.

“Tootsie” also had an odd performance schedule. They played Mondays instead of Thursdays. A few weeks ago, Tony winner Santino Fontana did a private gig for a charity dinner I was at on a Thursday. I thought maybe he was AWOL. Then it turned out he was free. Thursday is the big ‘going out’ night for New Yorkers. I didn’t understand that decision at all.

Meanwhile, “Beetlejuice”– which had fans lined up around the block on the first night of previews– really caught on. It’s fun, something “Tootsie” was not. When you think about it, winning the Best Book award was strange,too. The musical dumped characters and a big subplot from the movie. The whole soap opera setting was gone, which could have been parodied a lot. Producers could have had stunt soap actors come in for special gigs. Instead, they set the show in the much used world of putting on a musical. Mistake.

This past season was rough. It ate “The Cher Show,” among others that did not get through a whole year. The bar for survival is very high these days because so are costs.

The songs for “Tootsie” were written by David Yazbeck, Tony winner from “The Band’s Visit.” One song from the show stuck in my head and I find myself humming it a lot. Sarah Stiles, from “Billions,” performs it. Listen below. Go see “Tootsie” if you can before it goes.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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