How Bernadette Peters Helped Santino Fontana Find His Tootsie Portrayal

Video   How Bernadette Peters Helped Santino Fontana Find His Tootsie Portrayal
The advice Peters gave to Fontana set him on the path to play Dorothy Michaels on Broadway.

Tony Award nominee Santino Fontana appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert May 10 to talk about the new comedy musical Tootsie.

Fontana highlighted that this version has been updated since the Dustin Hoffman film. “People that know the movie are going to see what they loved about the movie—about somebody so desperate they're willing to do anything for what they love,” he said.

Santino Fontana
Santino Fontana and Bernadette Peters Timmy Blupé

READ: Tootsie Transforms for Broadway—In More Ways Than One

Throughout the show, Fontana switches back and forth between his main character, Michael Dorsey, and the woman Michael creates to land a job: Dorothy Michaels. The constant transitions are “like a war movie. There's hair, there's nails, there's glasses, there's makeup, there's cleavage...” Fontana said of the precision and army it takes to toggle back and forth.

But the look for his Dorothy was inspired by Bernadette Peters, with whom Fontana co-starred when he played Cornelius in Hello, Dolly! opposite her Dolly Levi.

“I went online and I put my head in one of those software programs where you can get all the hairdos,” he explained, “and I brought it around to her and said, ‘Which ones do you like? Because if I could be a woman, I’d want to look like you.’”

Peters marked the photos with her preferences and voila!

Watch the interview, in which Fontana also speaks about voicing the character of Hans in the movie Frozen, above.

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