Tommy Tune performance of “Tommy Tune Tonight”


In Tommy Tune, Tonight! – Broadway’s tallest tapper takes to the stage – dancing, singing and tale telling.  The 10 time Tony Award winner takes an autobiographical stroll, celebrating 50 plus years of big time showmanship! From his arrival in New York City as a fresh-faced kid from Texas, through his most popular roles on stage and screen, to his ascension as one of Broadway’s most accomplished director-choreographers. Accompanied by Michael Biagi, his music director for nearly four decades, the evening features Tune’s personal renditions of standards by Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Burt Bacharach, the Gershwins, Carole King, Green Day and more.

Tommy Tune has enchanted audiences for decades with his charisma, vision, and innovation. He has been honored with 10 Tony Awards recognizing him as an outstanding performer, choreographer, and director: Best Actor in a Musical for My One and Only, Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Seesaw, Best Choreography for A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the UkraineMy One and OnlyGrand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies, and Best Direction of a Musical for NineGrand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. Tune is also the recipient of the National Medal Of Arts and in 2009 the New York Landmarks Conservancy designated Mr. Tune as a Living Landmark. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre and he is currently touring around the country with Chita Rivera in Chita & Tune – Just In Time.

A native Texan, Mr. Tune began his career as a dancer in the Broadway shows Baker Street,  A Joyful Noise and How Now Dow Jones. He has received Tony Awards for The Will Rogers Follies (Direction and Choreography), Grand Hotel (Direction and Choreography), My One and Only (Actor in a Musical and Choreography) Nine (Direction), A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (Choreography) and Seesaw (Featured Actor in a Musical). Tune received two Tony nominations (Direction and Choreography) for The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Tommy has been has been invited to sing and dance for three United States Presidents, the Queen of England and the Royal Family of Monaco.

Film credits include Hello Dolly, The Boy Friendand Mimi Bluette…fiore del mio giardino, and in 1999, he made his Las Vegas debut as the star of EFX at the MGM Grand Hotel.  Tune is the recipient of the National Medal Of Arts, the highest honor for artistic achievement given by the President of the United States, and he has been honored with his own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame by Gwen Verdon.

In 2009 the New York Landmarks Conservancy designated Mr. Tune as a Living Landmark. In early 2015 Tune received rave reviews for his tap dancing and singing role in the Encores! production of Lady, Be Good! at New York City Center. In addition to touring with Chita Rivera in Chita & Tune, Tommy is also touring the country in his one-man show, Tommy Tune Tonight! 

“Tune still dances better than anyone else on Broadway, and he sings with elegance and ease. Plus, he’s got a trunkful of great, old showbiz stories.” New York Post

“It’s hard to resist the Colgate-bright charm and joyous energy of Tommy Tune, so why try?” The New Yorker

“Supple, suave, and elegant displays of virtuosity.” New York Newsday

“…at the head of the class acts.” Washington Post

“The evening was a tour de force.” Washington Times

“Tune takes vibrant charge the second he struts on stage.” Entertainment Weekly

“The quintessential Broadway song and dance man.” Variety Weeklyd

Tommy Tune
Tommy tune Tonight!

A Seemingly Ageless TOMMY TUNE Charms Fans at the Paramount

TOMMY TUNE Photo by Franco Lacosta
TOMMY TUNE Photo by Franco Lacosta

It was yet another coup for the magnificently restored 1930 Paramount Theater in the quaint Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, and it graced that stage on the recent afternoon of Father’s Day. The one-man show starred one of Broadway’s brightest lights, ten-time Tony Award winner, Tommy Tune, in a program titled, TOMMY TUNE TONIGHT. (The 2 o’clock matinee notwithstanding). The performance was a highlight of the Hello Again Dolly Festival under the guidance of festival director and renowned artist, Christopher Radko. The summer-long celebrations would include nearly two dozen various events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the making of the 1969 motion picture, “Hello Dolly,” starring Barbra Streisand, directed by Gene Kelly, and filmed in the area of Cold Spring and Garrison’s Landing, just a few miles north of Peekskill on the Hudson River.

For those in the audience old enough to remember, Mr. Tune arrived onstage seeming a much younger version of his 79 year-old self, though his still handsome full head of hair is now grayer. Incredibly tall at 6’6 ½”, and amazingly slim in his sleek, soft blue suit and matching vest, he was the embodiment of youthful “cool” on a very hot day. That same cool would pervade the performance that followed.

He opened with a musical invitation to, “Let’s Get Lost,” and as we began to lose ourselves in his talents, he quickly began to accent the song with his signature (and still dazzling) tap dancing, albeit on a small tap platform at mid-stage. His gleaming silver shoes could have rivaled Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers. What followed was a breezy 90 minutes of song, dance, and the star’s many fascinating reflections and memories of an amazingly successful life in the world of musical theatre. Tune is a proud Houston native where I have been privileged on several occasions to report on his sensational annual black-tie evening of the TOMMY TUNE AWARDS. Patterned after the Tony Awards, the red carpet event honors the best Houston area high school musicals of the year.

In this production, one of Tune’s anecdotes describes his youthful New York arrival on St. Patrick’s Day for his first trip to the Big Apple, and how, after playfully telling the director his extreme height was 5’18 ½”, Tune’s very first audition (Singing “You Gotta Have Heart”) won him a part in the chorus of Irma La Douce. Surrounding the star, warm stage lighting would alternate from soft lavender to vibrant raspberry and lime greens as his fascinating story began to unfold. His optimism was apparent with, “It Could Happen to You,” and then with “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish,” concluding that song athletically, high atop his one stage prop, a towering step ladder. Then came a relaxing, “Let’s Take it Nice and Easy,” that contrasted with Tune’s descriptions of the many exhausting tours of his Broadway successes in such productions as, “Nine,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Grand Hotel,” and “The Will Rogers Follies.” Memories of “Bye Bye Birdie,” included Tune’s gentle rendition of, “Everything is Rosie.” The voice was pleasant, though an occasional touch of hoarseness would send him back for a sip of water at the piano where his longtime music director, Michael Biagi, presided over a smooth trio that included bass and percussion. But the song selections were abundant, often revealing the aging star’s poignant look back at a long and successful career that the soon-to-be octogenarian knows cannot go on forever. He reflected on how “Dancers die twice,–once when they die, and once when they stop dancing.” That theme was evident as he sang the bluesy, “Can’t Get out of This Mood,” and especially with the phrase, “…The days dwindle down to a precious few…” as he sang, “September Song.” Elsewhere the mood was upbeat and sparkled with his dance genius as in “The Feelin’ Too Good Today Blues.” Under starry lighting there was a dreamy, “Up on the Roof,” then more great tapping for the tropical flavors of “Sand in My Shoes,” and the rhythmic delights of, “So Nice.” (The “Summer Samba”). There was a glowing, “Nowadays,” from the show Chicago, and affectionate memories of dance partners like Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, Ann Reinking, Marge Champion, Lauren Bacall, Barbra Streisand, and especially his My One and Only costar, British model, Twiggy.

There were still more memories of backstage visits from the stars. Tune does a marvelous impression of Carol Channing, repeating her advice after he broke first one foot, and then the other: “Maybe that’s God’s way of giving you symmetry.” He also reports first meeting Fred Astaire, who looked him up and down and quipped, “You are one tall son of a bitch!” Another marvelous tale told of the opening night of My One and Only, when Tune and legendary dancer, Charles “Honi” Coles paired for a soft shoe number that caused such a record-breaking uproar of audience enthusiasm that the musicians in the pit had to turn back all their music pages so the number could be repeated. Both gents would receive Tony Awards for that show. There were more delights with, “They All Laughed,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Stairway to Paradise” and “I Got Rhythm,” which may be the show’s greatest understatement coming from the brilliant Mr. Tune. Finally, he shared a saying he recalled: “Telling your life on stage is the ego’s last stand.” With that, he charmed us once more with a touching, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” that hinted of a final farewell.

Volunteer usher, Ann Brady, greets artist, Christopher Radko.
Volunteer usher, Ann Brady, greets artist, Christopher Radko.