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TBTS Tootsie Adaption A Faithful, Fun Show

[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Kyle Nicholas Anderson (Dorothy Michaels) and Jadon Webster (Max Von Horn) in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.

[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Kyle Nicholas Anderson (Dorothy Michaels) and Jadon Webster (Max Von Horn) in in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.
[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Kyle Nicholas Anderson (Dorothy Michaels) and Jadon Webster (Max Von Horn) in in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.
[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Kyle Nicholas Anderson as Dorothy Michaels in in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.
[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Kyle Nicholas Anderson as Dorothy Michaels in in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.

WAKEFIELD, RI — Adapting a beloved motion picture for the stage is a delicate task, but Theatre By The Sea delivers  a faithful  and  entertaining Tootsie adaptation.  

If the creators make too many changes, the whole thing tends to fall apart. I’m happy to report that “Tootsie” updates the classic story of a man dressing up as a woman to get a role and manages to keep the heart and humor intact.

Composer David Yazbek and Robert Horn, the show’s author, have kept the underlying structure of the story the same but have worked to make the themes of gender identity and sexual harassment more contemporary.

Director/choreographer Richard J. Hinds has crafted an energetic production with some social commentary tucked in with moments of broad comedy.

I’m happy to report that “Tootsie” updates the classic story of a man dressing up as a woman to get a role and manages to keep the heart and humor intact.

Theatre By The Sea has a real talent at casting their shows. Kyle Nicholas Anderson exhibits the necessary charisma and personality to carry this show and portray two characters, the opinionated actor Michael Dorsey and his female alter ego, Dorothy Michaels.

The 1982 film, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, starred Dustin Hoffman as Dorsey, who had a difficult time getting hired for jobs because of his temperament. Dorsey became Dorothy Michaels and won a role on a daytime television soap opera.

In this new musical version, Dorothy wins a part in a Broadway production called “Juliet’s Curse,” a ludicrous sequel to “Romeo and Juliet.”

The lead actor is a hunky and vapid reality show star named Max Van Horn (Jadon Webster, sporting a muscular physique). Van Horn rather improbably falls in love with Dorothy, a much older woman.

Meanwhile, Michael (as Dorothy) falls for his attractive co-star Julie Nichols (a radiant Joann Gilliam). Julie is in a relationship with the egomaniacal and sexist director Ron Carlisle (hilariously played by Jeff Brooks).

Dorothy becomes a feminist and forces changes in the storyline of “Juliet’s Curse,” which gives her a more prominent role in the show. She also fights back against Carlisle’s sexism.

Anderson is actually quite convincing as Dorothy. He’s not merely a man impersonating a woman, but emerges as a fully realized character. Dorothy is vulnerable and headstrong. Anderson soars on the stirring ballad “I Won’t Let You Down.”

Dean Marino provides excellent support as Jeff, Michael’s roommate. Jeff is an aspiring playwright afflicted with a severe case of writer’s block.

Brooke Jacob was a blast of pure hilarity as Michael’s neurotic ex-girlfriend Sandy, an actress. Jacob delivered a powerhouse vocal of “What’s Gonna Happen.”

Kyle Dixon’s scenic design and Dana Pinkston’s costumes were also highlights, along with the Act One closer, “Unstoppable.”

“Tootsie” works as a satire of show business and the peculiar personalities which inhabit that world, as well as a farce about mistaken identity. The relationships between these characters are stretched to their limits by Michael’s ambition and his dual personalities.

In reality, the fallout from such an outrageous act of subterfuge would be devastating. The actors are so appealing that they sell the absurdity of the plot and keep you laughing long after the curtain drops.

Tootsie runs through July 20 at Theatre By The Sea. Performances are scheduled for Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:00 pm, and Sundays at 5:00 pm, with special performance times on Sunday, June 30 at 2:00 & 7:00 pm and a special added Wednesday matinees on July 3 and July 17. The theatre is located at 364 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield. Tickets are on sale at the box office Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and performance days from 11:00 am until curtain, (performance Sundays 12 noon until curtain), online 24-hours-a-day  and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling (401) 782-TKTS (8587).

[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Jeff Brooks (Ron Carlisle), Kyle Nicholas Anderson (Dorothy Michaels), and Joann Gilliam (Julie Nichols) in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.
[CREDIT: Photo by Mark Turek] Jeff Brooks (Ron Carlisle), Kyle Nicholas Anderson (Dorothy Michaels), and Joann Gilliam (Julie Nichols) in the TBTS Tootsie adaptation running through July 20.

Joe Siegel
Author: Joe Siegel

Joe Siegel is a regular contributing writer for WarwickPost.com. His reporting has appeared in The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro and EDGE.

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