BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Tommy Tune: White Tie and Tails
The show itself is as Mr. Tune's opening number cheerfully announces, the "Same Old Song and Dance" -- all set to the music of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, the Beatles and Fred Astaire. Though there's no medley of Christmas songs, everything's neatly wrapped to make it an appealing holiday package, with Tune in his trademark white tie, tails and top hat (courtesy of Ralph Lauren) a charming and elegant Santa Claus and the singing, dancing and instrument playing Manhattan Rhythm Kings acting as his affable Elves, with Michael Biagi and his big on-stage band accompanying them energetically.
Years of performing in Las Vegas may have homogenized the Tune charisma a bit, but without diminishing his charm or glamorous good looks. Well aware that he's trim and agile as ever, he cheerfully uses the Beatles' "When I'm 64" to let all who care to know it that he's just a year and three months shy of being eligible for Medicare. His best numbers include a comic novelty piece "I'm My Own Grandpa", a film noirish "Shanghai Lil" and the snappy vaudevillian "When That Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'"
Tune's least inspired idea is to break the fourth wall for a question and answer session which comes off forced rather than funny or informative. The man sitting next to me turned to his wife and declared "a plant!" almost as soon as the woman sitting near us was brought on stage after asking "Do you remember me?" and then nervously recounted having a crush on him during his Texas college days. A number of readers who saw the show in previews have sent e-mails describing this same bit of business. It might have been more interesting and entertaining to go back to the projected images with sound tracks of autobiographical chatter and conversations with Carol Channing -- or even some brief excerpts of his only two films, (Hello Dolly and The Boy Friend).
As long as I'm mentioning those projections, they're the work of the best practitioners of this art in the business, Wendall K. Harrington go far to giving this revue the needed pizazz, as does Natasha Katz's shimmery, glittery lighting. With Tune living up to his name by belting out tune after catchy tune and , gliding gracefully through some eighteen of those "same old" song and dance routines -- plus two full encores -- there's plenty of pleasure to be found. It's not Tommy Tune in Grand Hotel or My One and Only or Crazy For You, but it is a chance to experience the flavor of those long ago days when movie palaces like the Roxie and the Paramount always had a big band show to go with the featured film. Judging from the enthusiasm of the all ages audience, enough of them are thrilled to have Tommy Tune back in town to make this inaugural show at the Little Shubert a big success even with more same old rather than new-new thing.
Theater Books Make Great Gifts
At This Theater
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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