Dressed in top hat and tails and surrounded by a million bucks of special effects, Broadway singer-dancer Tommy Tune makes his first appearance in the Las Vegas spectacle, EFX, Jan. 15.
Tune, 59, replaces David Cassidy in the long-running hit at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Nevada. The re-cast show has been tailored to the dancer's strength: Tapping his way into a story.
Shelley Mansholt, press rep for the musical spectacle, told Playbill On- Line Jan. 14 that no classic Broadway show tunes have been interpolated into the show for Tune, but his song-and-dance-man persona shines through in the starring role.
Tune's participation in the project has been reported since fall 1998, when his 1999 Vegas plans were cited as one reason for the delay of the long-aborning Broadway project, Irving Berlin's Easter Parade, which Tune was developing with collaborators as a vehicle for himself. Easter Parade was expected to open on Broadway sometime between fall 1998 and early 2000, but it has not announced dates and is still in development limbo.
The 6-foot-6-inch Tony Award-winner (Nine, Grand Hotel, Seesaw, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine) will play himself in EFX, rising (in the opening) from the depths of the set in his signature Astaire-worthy top hat. Memorably, director-choreographer Tune danced in top hat and tails in Broadway's My One and Only in 1983, earning a Best Actor Tony. Tap dances and specialty sequences are being tailored for Tune's EFX stand. In one number, he will perform "a melodic, strangely exotic tap number with each step hypnotically echoing throughout the theatre," according to a statement. The show will retain its original premise of "a dream-like journey."
The length of Tune's EFX contract was not disclosed.
In December 1998 Tune performed with old chum Sandy Duncan in a musical revue called Two For the Show, presented by Seattle's 5th Avenue Musical Theater Co. The show reportedly included songs from Easter Parade, which was to co-star Duncan, and numbers featuring Duncan's husband, Don Correia; actor-singer Guy Stroman; and the Manhattan Rhythm Kings. The show was billed as "contemporary vaudeville."
A press night for EFX, which would represent the official opening night, will be announced.
Tickets range from $35-$70. Call (800) 929-1111 for information.
-- By Kenneth Jones