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Tootsie (Chicago)

From 22 critic and 14 member reviews
Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Great singing, Great acting

About the show

This new musical comedy tells the story of a talented, but difficult-to-work-with actor who will do anything to land the role of a lifetime—including adopting a new persona as Dorothy Michaels. More…

Based on the hit 1982 film, 'Tootsie' stars Tony nominee Santino Fontana ('Cinderella,' 'Frozen'), and features a score by Tony winner David Yazbek ('The Band’s Visit,' 'The Full Monty'), and direction by eight-time Tony nominee and Olivier Award winner Scott Ellis ('She Loves Me,' 'On The Twentieth Century'). The production is scheduled to come to Broadway in the spring of 2019.

Showbiz Chicago

“From the shows first number to the last scene you are in for a night full of laughter and outstanding performances...I absolutely loved the thematic attitude of the show. Through the themes Yazbek gave the characters another outlet for growth. There is never a wasted lyric or an unnecessary number...Absolutely hilarious book...Extremely relevant today and is masterfully crafted...’Tootsie’ is one of those times where it not only pans out but shows why movies can make good musicals.” Full Review

Picture This Post

“First and foremost—in the long list of what puts this production on the speed track to Tony Awards once it opens in New York—is the star performance by Fontana in the title role where his amazing vocal range from contratenor to baritone is a constant WOW! His comic timing is perfect as well, as is that of his co-stars...Pacing in this production is fast but always clear...There isn’t any production aspect that doesn’t feel perfect.” Full Review

Around The Town Chicago

“This version of ‘Tootsie’ is an amazing transformation...A beautiful performance by Fontana, who truly makes these characters his own...While the songs are for the most part not ones that you will remember, they are cute and add to the story-line which is what a musical should do. The supporting characters are powerful and the ensemble dynamic...An adorable, fun-filled musical with a zesty ensemble...These energetic performers dance and sing their way into our hearts as this story unfolds.” Full Review

Seth Saith

"’Tootsie’ is very funny...The most obvious deviation from the movie is that out-of-work actor Michael passes himself off as Dorothy not in a daytime soap opera, but in a Broadway musical...This change works quite well...All of the performances and production values are truly first-rate...This show--with updated twists on the film's humorous conceit, fine songs, singing, dancing, and acting, much delightful dialogue and even a nice sense of morality--really gets it right." Full Review

Chicago Now

" this updated version....This laugh out loud comedy is where we see the hard truths of this dual gender role...The show is focused on the dual characters that Fontana plays...and how they contrast immensely from one another; which make the characters so believable because they are two different compassionate individuals and you get a chance to see how much Michael has grown personally and professionally...Highly recommended.” Full Review

Chicago Theater Beat

“This ‘Tootsie’ satisfyingly defies the odds...’Tootsie’s’ book is its most memorable facet, followed closely by Fontana’s divine leading performance...It’s rare that the book of a musical is not only hilarious but memorable, with social commentary that’s not too heavy-handed and genuine character development...If only Yazbek’s score were as memorable as Horn’s book...The show rests on the broad shoulders of its leading man, and Fontana is a brilliant choice.” Full Review

Chicago Theater and Arts

“Given the current culturally and historically significant climate of women’s issues, ‘Tootsie'...with a clever book...promises to be a Tony winner...Nods to the ‘Me Too’ and other concerns are scattered throughout the musical...It is hard to picture the role played any better than...Fontana who nails the character’s angst and Dorothy’s feminine side while holding onto his own masculinity...The show moves at an energetic pace that enhance comedic and startling moments.” Full Review

Chicago Onstage

“The best Broadway try-out show we’ve had in Chicago in a long time...Horn’s book is vibrant with wonderful dialogue and jokes...Fontana has a mind-boggling voice in both roles, taking advantage of Yazbek’s mostly brilliant new songs. But for me, the really great news is that this new ‘Tootsie’ ameliorates several significant problems that existed in the film...Fontana’s performance, the hilarious book, and the songs that do work will easily make this show a hit.” Full Review

Chicagoland Musical Theatre

“’Tootsie’ gets it right. With a contemporary book re-write by first-time playwright Horn, this ‘Tootsie’ is everything a Broadway musical-comedy should be. The bitingly smart, hilarious book is supplemented by a songbook with lyrics of equal wit and tunes that keep the story moving at a quick pace. Quite simply, this is a Chicago tryout of a work nearly ready for New York’s brightest lights...Ellis keeps the pace quick, leading his star, Santino Fontana, in a phenomenal performance." Full Review


“A jaunty new stage musical adaptation...Most everything comes off with a vibrant musical-comedy zeal, from Horn’s fresh and funny one-liners to Yazbek’s brassy-funky-jazzy score to the comic performances led by Fontana...It’s all absurd, ridiculous to the point of surreality, but the musical-theater setting enables the show to poke giant fun at itself and have lots of fun doing it...The show makes fun of mansplaining while still doing it...But the show has a personality...all its own.” Full Review

Daily Herald

“Horn has written some terrific zingers...That humor extends to Jones' choreography...The broad, jazzy score incorporates several winning patter tunes...Ellis earns kudos not only for perfectly timed comic bits, but for the unassuming authenticity that defines the quieter moments...That said, some characters need fleshing out. The climax is pretty anticlimactic and the show runs out of steam near the end. But those are minor points. ‘Tootsie’ is a major achievement." Full Review

Time Out Chicago

“The notion that the best woman for the job might just be a man is a joke that’s lost its punchline...Yet the Broadway-bound musical...starring the magnificent Fontana, is nothing less than a delight...It has been tweaked with a modern sensibility that gives it license to do what ‘Tootsie’ does best: be outrageously funny. Horn’s book is a 30 Rock–like rat-a-tat stream of jokes, most of which hit the mark and hit it hard...Yazbek’s score is superb...A damn good show.” Full Review


“Featuring a winning jazzy pop score...The show's greatest assets might very well prove to be its witty book...and its leading man, Fontana...Horn has produced what is one of the funniest musical comedies in years...Fontana succeeds in making what could easily be an unlikable character somewhat lovable...Like must pre-Broadway tryouts, some work still needs to be done...’Tootsie’ will no doubt end up capture the heart of Broadway audiences.” Full Review

Chicago Concert Reviews

“’Tootsie’ is basically right on target. Sure there may be some tweaks along the way...but beyond a lyric here or a costume there, the show’s running a lot smoother than most at this stage in its five-week run. It also manages to fairly balance staying true to the premise of the 1982 comedy...A barrel of laughs in between heartwarming moments of genuine conversations amongst the comical cast.” Full Review

Chicago Tribune

“The best moment in ‘Tootsie’ when Fontana first opens his mouth to sing...A very funny show...mostly due to Horn’s book...The sound has a movie-score quality...Dorothy’s big reveal as Michael is very much a letdown here. It’s rushed and it doesn’t have either the requisite dramatic tension nor the required emotional impact...It is disappointingly nonspecific. All of a sudden, a hugely enjoyable show becomes a bore...Still, ‘Tootsie’ gets so very much right.” Full Review

Chicago Reader

“While masquerading quite artfully as a rapid-fire sitcom built for even non-musical lovers, the production covers a host of thorny social issues. Most broadly, it's a really fun, irreverent parody of Broadway and the musical form itself...At its core, the story is a feminist win disguised in slapstick. Having a male character discover...what it means to be a woman...allows the show to preach beyond the choir and create allies along the way.” Full Review

Chicago Theatre Review

“The play is very funny. It’s biting and bitchy and has been cleverly brought into the 21st century with skill and ease...Jazzy, infectious, and toe-tapping, the music and lyrics are by the incomparable Yazbek...Fontana is drop-dead extraordinary...There’s a little more work that can be accomplished...The show could be shortened without losing anything important...Dorothy’s reveal as Michael isn’t quite as earthshaking...Final moments of the musical feels like the show simply ran out of steam.” Full Review

Broadway Journal

“Fontana is sublime...Fontana borrows a gesture or two from Dustin Hoffman’s performance...But Fontana makes the role his own with fine timing, crisp dancing and a gender-bending vocal range interpreting Yazbek’s varied and mostly wonderful score...The creators...made shrewd revisions to the movie’s plot...The show has too many broad gags and one-liners that derail the momentum of the story. Several of the supporting characters are caricatures that grow tiresome.” Full Review


“’Tootsie’ feels a bit like show business balm – a feel good work for the #MeToo era...There is punchy if unexceptional music, and a slew of clever lyrics...You never doubt Fontana’s ability to carry off the ruse...He has a terrific voice, and sings with equal skill and naturalness as both Michael and Dorothy...Ultimately, ‘Tootsie’ is a lightweight confection about show business itself. It could use some trimming. And its all-important final scene could use some fine-tuning.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“Horn's adaptation works as stage farce...The new dialogue is mostly laugh out-loud funny...Grotelueschen...nearly steals the show from Fontana, who is an impressive singer who's a little unnuanced...but a fine drag performer...Ellis and his cast ensure the jokes all land, and Yazbek's jazzy, brassy songs boast some funny lyrics...None of the songs really move the action or develop the characters sufficiently to make the case that ‘Tootsie’ needed to be a musical.” Full Review

Third Coast Review

“The music remains the clear focal point of the show while Ellis pieces all of the comic and scenic elements together seamlessly with flawless choreography and acting. The resulting overall production values...give ‘Tootsie’ a Broadway-worthy polish...The plot nuances fall short because the adaptation often reaches for a good one liner at the expense of subtlety...It’s unfortunate that the opportunity to play with gender roles wasn’t explored." Full Review

Chicago Sun-Times

“Watching the Broadway-bound musical ‘Tootsie,’ you get the sense that the new musical...wants to be more than your typical rom-com...However, ‘Tootsie’ is a rom-com. And a dated rom-com at that. Despite the contemporary setting...Yazbek’s score is fine...Horn’s dialogue has some genuine zingers...Ellis has laden the dances with insidery-theater type references which are hilarious...May I gently suggest that there are other stories worthy of such mighty resources.” Full Review

Relevant, Funny, Clever

See it if you want a cast that has fantastic chemistry, a show that's timely without being heavy-handed, is laugh-out-loud funny, and well-paced.

Don't see it if you want a show that has a large number of full-cast/ensemble musical numbers, you don't like shows that are more meta.

Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you love the bones of Tootsie -Santino Fontana's audition number is a showstopper. He's wonderful! Supporting cast was good.

Don't see it if It gives up some of the best film moments, but it's still a great farce. The play moves the action to a "Musical" instead of a Soap Opera

Also There are a few GREAT laughs. The young leading man's schtick is hyste... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Great singing, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you loved “Tootsie,” the film, but want to see how something can be successfully re-imagined for the stage. This is surprisingly funny.

Don't see it if you like stage adaptations where the film is literally transferred to the stage, word for word. This approach never works.

Also Broadway producers who are adapting movies for the stage should see ho... Read more Read less

Great singing, Quirky, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You like a light hearted musical that carries the spirit of the original film while still managing to offer some commentary on gender

Don't see it if it felt a bit uneven, but this was previews so I'd cut it some slack. It's a bit more heavy handed than the film, but I liked that

Also I was definitely nervous going in because obviously a lot has changed ... Read more Read less

Must see, Relevant, Intelligent, Masterful, Delightful

See it if You want a masterful night at the theatre. Impressive production in all ways. Standout sets, voices, action, coreography, music A MUST SEE!

Don't see it if You don't like the movie

Must see, Hilarious, Masterful, Enchanting, Clever

See it if You want to have a great night on the theatre. Want to laugh a lot, and see incredible performances. And want to listen to great music.

Don't see it if You are a grumpy old dude

Great writing, Great singing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You like comedies, great acting, and great singing.

Don't see it if You want a re-hash of the movie, an award-winning score, or a show with a serious tone.

Also The book is sensational! I was disappointed with Pretty Woman, because... Read more Read less

Slow, Great staging, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like Santino Fontana. He's the best part of the show.

Don't see it if you are looking for romance. Dorothy's suitor is now a young actor, played unbelievably and only for laughs. And Michael's story is dull

During previews
Great singing, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You like new shows with witty dialogue and well sung songs. (Genuinely laugh out loud funny as well) You like Santino Fontana.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with drag and cursing. You expect to hear the music from the movie.

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Quirky, Funny, Clever

See it if You like good writing, current themes, women’s empowerment and scores with a variety of styles

Don't see it if You want to leave “humming something,” drag freaks you out, or you don’t like women

During previews
Clever, Refreshing, Hilarious, Great singing, Great acting

See it if like a good musical comedy with great acting and singing from the whole cast, clever lyrics, and hilarious adjustments to the movie script.

Don't see it if you cannot stand any changes to the original movie, or you insist that a hummable tune is the only standard for good score of a musical.

Also Santino Fontana absolutely shines as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you enjoyed the film "Tootsie" and/or if you are looking for a fun, entertaining musical.

Don't see it if you don't live in or are visiting Chicago. This is a good show, but it's still being developed. I'd recommend waiting until it comes to NYC.

During previews
Fun, Lively, Cute, Funny, Delightful

See it if You like David Yazbek's other shows, you like Santino Fontana, you want to see something amusing and cute.

Don't see it if You are looking for a serious show with a lot of deep meaning.

During previews
Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy a great comedy, the sit-com joke vibe and great acting.

Don't see it if Don't see it if you're only there for the songs, they are great but the the central point in the show.

Cast & Creatives (28)