Sunday, February 26, 2006

Leg Up!

A few years ago I saw Tommy Tune on stage in the show "EFX" at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Tune starred in the show for two and a half years. It was a stage spectacular, with lots of special effects, and was the MGM Grand's attempt to compete with the Cirque du Soleil shows that were beginning to blossom on the Strip. (This auditorium at the MGM Grand has since been redone and now hosts the Cirque du Soleil show "KA!")

I remember thinking at the time, "I shall never see Tommy Tune in a cheesier show -- no matter how long I may live."

So, I was wrong.

Today I saw "Dr. Dolittle" starring (and directed by) Tommy Tune at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. What a godawful, vanity piece of theater!

The music is boring, the book is terrible, the choreography (yes, the choreography!) is average at best. Tune's make-up was so bad his face was shiny. I couldn't help but think I was seeing the Hollywood Wax Museum's version of Tommy Tune.

The "animals" are mostly portrayed by puppeteers although some are cardboard. Sort of a poor man's "Lion King."

I did think the 12 year-old who played the tap-dancing monkey, Chee-Chee, was a talented dancer. The Monkey-Monkey Island Dance number -- featuring Chee-Chee, was the most energetic in the show. Turns out Aaron Burr was discovered during a dance contest on Good Morning America where Tommy Tune was a judge. (I'm a Today Show man, so I didn't see it.) And what a time for him to share a name with a gentleman who I guess is now referred to as the FIRST Vice President to shoot a man.

Tune did tell a funny story at the curtain call. He said that he was making his Pantages Theater debut, one of the few major theaters in the country he hadn't performed in. He said that he went out yesterday to find his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was a little distressed to find it on Yucca Street. He must have a good joke writer because there are no stars on Yucca Street.
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