Nine time Tony Award-winning choreographer, dancer, actor, director Tommy Tune in his latest show ‘Steps In Time, A Broadway Biography in Song and Dance’ talks about everything from growing up in Texas to going to Broadway and working with Michael Bennett and dancing with Charles “Honi” Coles.
Backed by a three piece band (Michael Biagi, Piano/Musical Director/Arranger, Robert Hirshhorn on Keyboards and John Myers on Drums) and The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, (Brian Nalepka, who also plays Bass, Hal Shane and Scott Leiendecker) Tune put together a very entertaining program of songs and anecdotes about his, what is now a 50 year career in show business.
Song selections included lesser known songs like “I Love It” from the flop musical Doctor Jazz to a Gershwin medley to “Won’t you Charleston with Me” from The Boy Friend. Gershwin has been a big part of Tune’s career because he starred, co- directed and choreographed and pretty much saved the original production of My One and Only, for which he starred in with Twiggy.
I was particularly moved when Tune told the story about the last time he and “Honi” Coles appeared on stage together. He talks about being on stage in My One and Only and Coles having a stroke on stage in the middle of a scene. He couldn’t speak but he was able to do the dance duet with Tune one last time before being taken off. He never missed a step. His dancer body was all there even though his speech was gone.
Mr. Tune was associated with a show called Busker Alley in which he injured himself on the road and the show closed because of it. I was hoping that he would dispel the rumors that his injury was intentional but there was no mention of the production.
There is plenty to enjoy in Tune’s show and the fact that at age 73 he is still doing what he likes is a testament to his talent and showmanship. He says Gene Kelly gave him the best advice that he ever got when filming Hello Dolly, “dance better.” I don’t know how much better he can get, but Tune was and still is an extremely talented individual.
Running Time: 80 minutes with no intermission
Tommy Tune: Steps in Time, A Broadway Biography in Song and Dance is a one day two performance event on June 2nd , 2012 with shows at 2PM and 8PM at The Music Center at Strathmore. For tickets, order online.