Broadway’s ‘Tootsie’ Announces Closing Date; Musical Won Two Tonys But Peaked Too Early


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Tootsie, the Broadway musical that had an easier time charming critics than winning potential ticket buyers, will play its final performance on Sunday, January 5, 2020. The musical, based on the hit Dustin Hoffman movie from 1982 and a winner of two Tony Awards, will have played 293 regular and 25 preview performances since opening April 23 at the Marquis Theatre.

Producers announced the closing tonight. Sources say the cast was informed earlier today.

Fronted by the Tony Award winner Santino Fontano as the Michael who becomes the Dorothy to get the job, Tootsie features Robert Horn’s Tony-winning book and a score by David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit) and direction by Scott Ellis.

Most Broadway bettors might have put money on Tootsie‘s success last spring, at least over the generally lesser-well-reviewed Beetlejuice, but they’d have lost. Last week, Beetlejuice grossed $1.2 million – 93% of its potential at the Winter Garden Theatre – and filled 97% of its seats. Tootsie took $943,765, only 58% of its potential. Attendance was 78% of capacity.

Last week’s numbers reflect a trend that started early in the summer, with Tootsie hitting its box office peak of $1.1 million just four weeks into its run and Beetlejuice, which opened just two days after Tootsie, climbing determinedly to its peak of $1.2 million in its 20th week. That’s called word-of-mouth.

So why one and not the other? Both shows are based on movies from the 1980s, so young Broadway-goers weren’t around for either one — though Beetlejuice likely had a longer half-life, with kids still watching the comic demon at least around Halloween, certainly more so than the Dustin Hoffman-Jessica Lange romantic comedy. Families visiting New York with children in tow probably didn’t take long to make up their minds.

In any case, Tootsie‘s large team of producers led by Scott Sanders and Carol Fineman have confidence enough in their really and truly very funny musical to take it on the road. A North American tour kicks off next October at Shea’s Buffalo Theater in Buffalo, NY, with other dates and cast to be announced. Producers say plans for several international productions are underway.

The Broadway company won’t be the only ones facing post-holiday blues. Other shows sticking around just long enough for the lucrative season are Waitress and Derren Brown: Secret (both closing January 4); Freestyle Love Supreme (January 12); and Oklahoma and Slave Play (January 19).

And New Yorkers won’t have long to wait for another man-disguised-as-woman comedy based on an old-ish movie. Mrs. Doubtfire, with Rob McClure — who originated the ghost husband role in Beetlejuice last spring — in the Robin Williams role and Jerry Zaks directing. Performances begin March 9 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

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