|I love a spiral staircase.|
In the early and mid-60s, Tommy Tune was just your average chorus boy, if your average chorus boy hovered around 6'7. He had already appeared in several forgettable musicals of the period, and was a featured dancer on Dean Martin's variety show among others, when his career path altered.
His friend and mentor Michael Bennett was summoned to save the musical Seesaw, which was in dire trouble out of town. Bennett took Tommy with him, placed him in a supporting role, and allowed him to choreograph his own number. "It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish" turned into a showstopper; Tune won the first of his nine Tony awards, and his career as a choreographer was launched.Tune is responsible for a string of eclectic musical hits, including Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Nine, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Will Rogers Follies, Grand Hotel, and My One and Only (he cast himself as the leading man in the last one, opposite Twiggy; he won a performance Tony plus an award for his choreography).
|With Twiggy in My One and Only.|
Our hero was the first person to win Tony awards in four different categories (that feat has since been repeated by Harvey Fierstein), and he still holds the distinction of being the only person to win back-to-back Tonys as director and choreographer.
Tune's film career was limited (Hello, Dolly and The Boyfriend), which partially explains the fact that he is not better known nationally.
|Tommy teaches Streisand (in the purple) the joys of "Dancing,"|
in Hello, Dolly
|As Albert in Birdie|
|Michael Jeter brought down the house at the Tonys, winning|
for Grand Hotel.
His work has been showcased in these pages before: the showstopper from Grand Hotel, delivered by the dynamic Michael Jeter, appears here, and a slap-happy tambourine number from Will Rogers' Follies showed up here. Both clips are terrific and worth a look.
Tommy has spent the last decade or so showcasing his tap talents in a concert act, as well as running an art gallery in Manhattan which, coincidentally, sells his own work. He's lately been workshopping a disco musical, all about the notorious Studio 54, but the piece does not seem to be gaining much traction. It seems unlikely that another musical under his guidance will reach Broadway again, which is a shame to me, I'm such a fan.
|Site of a memorable New Years Eve.|
|A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,|
Tommy's riotous "double feature." Priscilla Lopez is
masquerading as Harpo Marx.