A Broadway Biography in Song and Dance

Written, Choreographed, Directed by Tommy Tune
Musical Direction by Michael Biagi
Featuring Tommy Tune and The Manhattan Rhythm Kings
On Tour
at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Sarasota, March 14, 2012

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

After Tommy Tune taps a ‘time‘ step and then shuffles across the stage, he’s off using variations of both and commenting on his life on stage for 90 wonderful minutes. He’s 73 years ageless as he shows off not only his Broadway triumphs but also not-quite-hits from My One and Only to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Goes Public. He goes through his life from Texas roots (the only place he wasn’t always so tall) to his first work on The Great White Way in a chorus. He not only stood out there but stood away soon with a leading role----something he’s retained in films, television spots, Las Vegas revues, and world-wide “concert“ tours such as the present.

Tommy Tune gives his own spin on legendary Red Shoes (with real ones matched by a vest and handkerchief), backed up enthusiastically in song and dance by The Manhattan Rhythm Kings. They (Brian Nalepka, Hal Shane, Scott Leiendecker) wear cowboy boots and appropriate hats. Musicians Michael Biagi, Bobby Hirshhorn, and John Meyers make all their fine moves and sounds onstage throughout. And speaking of sound, Tune’s voice is vibrant as ever, just as his classic pop songs are well worth listening to again and again. When he tries to end with “Every Time We Say Goodbye,“ the audience won’t let him off without a much appreciated encore. Perhaps he will be like onetime partner Charles “Honi“ Coles, to whom Tune’s program is dedicated. The legendary tap master suffered a stroke during a performance but his body, especially the feet, finished as if on its own. Some might attribute Coles‘ performance to the power of dance that took him over. Tommy Tune, in Steps in Time, seems to evidence such a power.

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