Tommy Tune Grooming West End Musical Top Hat for American Audiences

By Sophia Saifi
and Adam Hetrick
August 12, 2013

Nine-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune may help usher a new production of the Olivier Award-winning London musical Top Hat to Broadway. The director-choreographer is in the early stages of shaping an American version of the musical based on the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film.



"I am working on it," Tune said during a recent interview with Playbill.com at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. "It's going to need a lot of work. I have to get people together that do things that I don't know how to do - get the right team together to figure it out. There's a lot of work to be done. We're in the beginning stages."

When asked if Broadway was the goal, Tune replied, "It is in the contemplation stage right now, but I would love for it to happen."

Featuring music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and based on the 1935 RKO film, the screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott was adapted for the stage by Matthew White and Howard Jacques. Under the direction of adaptor White and choreographer Bill Deamer, Top Hat won Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

Tune, who was recently in London to see the production, also stated that he did not envision a wholesale import of the London script and staging. "There is going to have to be an American version," he said. "That was good for London and very successful there, but what I know about the audience here is that it has got to have another tone, I think, to work here."

Top Hat toured the U.K. in 2011-12 prior to a West End arrival at the Aldwych Theatre in May 2012. It will end its London run in October, with an eye toward a new tour launch in 2014-15. 

A nine-time Tony Award winner, director-choreographer-actor Tune has helped create such Broadway shows as Nine, My One & Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, The Will Rogers Follies and Grand Hotel. He helmed Off-Broadway's The Club and Cloud Nine, and he spent two years starring in the Las Vegas production of the spectacular EFX at the MGM Grand Hotel. Tune was seen in the 2006 national tour of Dr. Dolittle, and helmed the musical The Turn of the Century at the Goodman Theatre in fall 2008. He is also at work on a new musical about 1970s disco Studio 54.