Footlights

Theater News

Santino Fontana as Dorothy Michaels in “Tootsie” (Robert Trachtenberg, 2018)


IF THE SHOE FITS

Sometimes actors will do almost anything to get a job. In the new musical “Tootsie,” Michael Dorsey, a difficult actor, finds success—and his true self as a man—when he becomes Dorothy Michaels, a thoughtful, caring woman. “This is a story about stepping into somebody else’s shoes,” says Santino Fontana, the anything-but-difficult actor who plays Michael/Dorothy (above). Has Fontana ever done something extreme to land a role? Definitely, he gleefully remembers: “I was auditioning for a Western, and I was convinced I needed cowboy boots. I didn’t have them, so I went to a shoe store and told them I was a professional shopper for a costume designer. ’”Saturday Night Live?”’ they asked. ’Yes, “SNL,”’ I lied. ‘I need cowboy boots size 11. If they don’t fit, can I bring them back?’ ‘That’s fine,’ they said. I hid the tag inside, auditioned and came right back. ‘They didn’t fit him,’ I lied again. I didn’t get the part, but I got a callback!”  |  Marquis Theatre, 210 W. 46th St., 877.250.2929

Mary Testa as Aunt Eller in “Oklahoma!” (Teddy Wolff)


A GROUNDED AUNT ELLER

Audiences love two-time Tony Award nominee Mary Testa. Having no desire to be a “star,” she contends that she just wants “to do interesting work in interesting projects.” Her latest project is the radical rethink of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” in which she plays Aunt Eller (below). “I’ve always been moved by Hammerstein’s lyrics and how each song is an acting piece. The line, ‘We belong to the land’ never really hit me until the other day. Not ‘The land belongs to us,’ but ‘We belong to the land.’ That to me is epic. It says everything about humanity.”  |  Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St., 212.239.6200

Fionnula Flanagan, Matilda Lawler and Brooklyn Shuck (left to right) in “The Ferryman” (©2019 Joan Marcus)


BROOKLYN ON BROADWAY

At the tender age of 13, Brooklyn Shuck (left, seated on chair) is already the veteran of six shows on Broadway. Her latest is Jez Butterworth’s rollicking but intense family drama set in Northern Ireland, “The Ferryman.” Of her character, Nunu (Nuala) Carney, Brooklyn says, “She’s super curious and always wants in on the situation. She’s another version of me that I get to explore every night.” Brooklyn also gets to do things in this show that she’s never done before. “I would never have guessed that I would ever work with a bunny, a goose, a baby, cooking and Irish dancing. It blows my mind,” she enthuses. Of course, when she’s not onstage, the eighth-grade actress has other work to do backstage: homework, just like any other kid her age. 
|  Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St., 212.239.6200