CUE & A: Song and Dance Legend Tommy Tune on Carol Channing, Kissing Twiggy and His Love of Pro Wrestling

News   CUE & A: Song and Dance Legend Tommy Tune on Carol Channing, Kissing Twiggy and His Love of Pro Wrestling
Showbiz legend Tommy Tune will return to the New York stage in a special Encores! presentation of the George and Ira Gershwin musical Lady, Be Good Feb. 4-8. The theatre legend fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Tommy Tune
Tommy Tune Photo by Joan Marcus

Tune began his career as a dancer in the Broadway shows Baker Street, A Joyful Noise and How Now Dow Jones. He would soon step out of the chorus and into a principal role in the Broadway musical Seesaw, which won him his first Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

His first Broadway directing and choreography credits were for the original production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Tune has been honored with nine Tony Awards celebrating him as a performer, choreographer and director. Tune is the recipient of The National Medal of Arts, and he has been honored with his own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Full given name: Thomas James Tune. The New York Times asserts that my last name is originally Tunesmith; not true!
Where you were born/where you were raised: Wichita Falls, TX. But I consider Houston my hometown.
Zodiac Sign: Pisces (like Nureyev and Nijinsky)
Current audition song/monologue: "(You Gotta Have) Heart"
Special skills: I can cook!
First Broadway show you ever saw: Happy Hunting, starring Ethel Merman and Fernando Lamas. They were feuding apparently, because after they kissed he wiped his mouth.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? I would love to have seen Fred and Adele Astaire in the Gershwins' Lady Be Good (1924). What they must have been together!
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: You Can't Take It With You. Fresh and hilarious! Exquisite direction by Scott Ellis.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish"
Some favorite modern musicals: The Light in the Piazza, Once
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Peter Allen songs
Last book you read: "Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance"
Must-see TV show(s): "Penny Dreadful," "The Knick," "AHS: Freak Show," "Da Vinci's Demons," "Masters of Sex"
Last good movie you saw: "Boyhood"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Christine Ebersole
Three favorite cities: NYC, San Francisco, San Antonio
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Bells Are Ringing original cast recording with Judy Holliday and Sydney Chaplin
One CD you can't live without: Verve Jazz Masters 13: Antonio Carlos Jobim
First stage kiss: Twiggy (yum-yum)
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Salmon and salad
Favorite liquid refreshment: H2O (Unless there's Cristal brut in my glass)
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Meditation, prayer, floor barre, vocal warm up, and I like to run over the most difficult choreography just before curtain.
Most challenging role you have ever played: Jesus in the Easter pageant
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Too many to mention, but I consider them happy accidents. They remind the audience that they are watching live theatre. No retakes.
Worst costume ever: It was in A Joyful Noise and there was very little of it. It involved some white fringe.
Worst job you ever had: Telesales, selling security to businesses. It was rather dreary.
Something about you that surprises people: I'm a fan of "Monday Night Raw." Professional wrestling is like grand opera. Big emotions, big risks.
Career you would want if not a performer: A short order cook
Three things you can't live without: Bubbles and smoke and mirrors
"I'll never understand why…" … so many current Broadway shows are so over mic-ed. Do they think we're all deaf?
Words of advice for aspiring performers: The theatre is a calling. If you can do something else, anything else, then do it. If not, there's no choice—the theatre is for you.
Page one of Tune's handwritten responses!
Page one of Tune's handwritten responses!
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