Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.
November 18, 2012
Tall Tommy Tune, Broadway star-director-choreographer (winner of 9 Tonys) makes his entrance in his show Taps, Tunes & Tall Tales at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency strolling through the audience singing “I’ve Got Them Feelin’ Too Good Blues.” When he reaches the stage he does indeed tap all over the small Feinstein’s stage. Because he is so tall, his red tuxedo including vest, tails, and red rose on his label, had to be custom made but it is strikingly effective. His opening night audience was sold out with major Broadway stars in attendance. Every one of his sometimes complicated lyrics was crystal clear and his physical movements were extremely animated.
Tune’s show is autobiographical, detailing his first day in New York open call audition (when he sang and danced to “Heart“and got the part) his working with star performers, major choreographers and directors, his advice from them (a couple of times doing a wonderful Carol Channing imitation). All of the songs are part of his autobiography but, at times, he only sings short segments of them, breaking them off to tell another personal recollection which is the only disappointment in the show because you are expecting the full song. His long time music director/arranger Michael Biagi is his clever and funny accompanist, sometimes giving us a musical cue that doesn’t lead to the expected song.
I am tempted to call him “Mr. Show Business” because there is no one his age around anymore who has excelled in everything as he has. His stories about Honi Coles, the legendary tap dancer, who was featured with him in performances that won them both Tony Awards in My One and Only, were brilliant and moving especially their duo on the title song which stopped the show on opening night and they had to repeat the whole number again to go on which had never happened in a Broadway show although, at rare times, it is done at opera houses.
Tune also sings and dances to two great oldies, Irving Berlin’s “Let Yourself Go” and Cole Porter’s “Don’t Monkey With Broadway.” He takes some contemporary songwriter songs (Carol Hall, Green Day) and makes them his own. Regretting a love affair that went wrong, Tune makes “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face” very personal, and actually sits on a ladder to sing “Up On the Roof.” His smash finish is a fully danced and sung “I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise.” He does mention his two foot injuries, one for each foot, but you’d never know it from his wonderful performance. Because there is no one who equals him in all his talent and skill, I urge everyone to try and see this show!
Tommy Tune’s Taps, Tunes & Tall Tales repeats Sunday, November 25 at 8 PM and Monday, November 26 at 8 PM and 10:30 PM at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue. For ticket reservations and information visit Feinsteinsattheregency.com, or call (212) 339-4095.