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Field Trip: Tootsie

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Tootsie, a comedy musical based on an 80’s movie of the same name, is currently on tour and at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. As with my other musical trips, I went with my brother, and here is how it all went.

This post ended up being more of a review of Tootsie rather than a recap, mainly because I had strong thoughts. I strived to keep it spoiler free.

Most of what I have to say is about the show itself, so I’ll really focus on that instead of the trip as a whole since all we really did was go and see Tootsie. Firstly I want to say that the cast definitely worked very hard and performed their roles well. None of my critiques of the show has anything to do with the performances done by the cast.

But let’s get into the criticism, shall we?

I went into the show not knowing much about the plot beyond a man dressing as a woman to earn an acting job. I wasn’t familiar with the source material before this and based on research after seeing it, that doesn’t matter because they changed things significantly. And I’d argue and say not for the better.

Something that is unique to this production that could have been better was the sound mixing. If the ensemble sang a song, we couldn’t understand what they were singing. It just blended into loud noise. And there were some slips with Michael’s mic not being turned on right when it needed to be. I also think the microphone placement on Michael was not thought through because he changes costumes so frequently and the garments would rub and hit the mic on stage. Sound overall was not well done. But on a happier note, the performers singing was great, especially Drew Becker, who played Michael, and the orchestra was flawless.

Now to surmise my opinion about the show itself, I didn’t leave the show having enjoyed it all. The reimagined plot was messy and they shoved too many old references and memes that aren’t relevant in 2022, despite the show seeming to be a modern day setting. It is also littered with Broadway specific references that, unless you are a Broadway fan or deep in the industry, you won’t understand.

All of the characters are super exaggerated tropes that I honestly got exhausted by. Especially Sandy, who was so chaotically neurotic I sincerely wanted her to go see a therapist. Everyone is trope and tropes get old when they don’t grow or develop at all.

The show does a terrible job making the timeline make sense because somehow in the first act the show within the show has performances running, but in the second night is the opening night. So unless you can patch together that the first act must have been previews, and you know what a preview is, that is just plain confusing. They also have a dream sequence of sorts between these instances that make it seem like time is passing rather than it being Michael daydreaming Dorothy’s success. It’s another that only makes sense after the fact when you have to piece the show together yourself, which isn’t what an audience member should have to do.

There are many instances where the characters make decisions that don’t make sense and are clearly only made to move the plot along it’s convoluted path. Some of them were moments from the movie that they decided to keep or slightly change despite the fact that this Tootsie is nothing like the film. I could honestly go on and on about how this show is poorly written, but I’ll spare you.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend anyone go see Tootsie honestly. The cast clearly works very hard to make the show as good as possible, but the problem is the show itself is never going to be good. I don’t know how it won any Tony Awards honestly. It is confusing, exhausting, and grating. So spare yourself and just watch the movie which sounds so much better.

To lighten this up, tell me about a show you saw and loved in the comments!


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