Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tommy Tune kicks up his heels to open the Dallas Summer Musicals 71st Season

Kicking off Dallas Summer Musicals’ (DSM) 71st season March 15-20, 2011, will be TOMMY TUNE- STEPS IN TIME, A BROADWAY BIOGRAPHY IN SONG AND DANCE, FEATURING THE MANHATTAN RHYTHM KINGS.

Broadway’s Super Star Song and Dance man, Tommy Tune hits the stage high-stepping through his nine-time Tony® Award winning career. Known as one of the most prolific theatre men of the Twentieth Century, Tommy Tune has enchanted audiences over the past 50 years with his charisma, vision, and innovation.

When I was in college, I had a chance to interview Twiggy, the anorexic English teenager girl who was a thin as a Twig. She became a sensation and I followed her career with fascination. When she paired up with Tommy Tune in My One and Only, it was an instant smash hit. And although Twiggy seems to have faded into the background, Tommy Tune is still pounding out hits and art.

A native Texan, Tune received his Equity card onstage at the Music Hall at Fair Park, and began his career as a dancer in the Broadway shows Baker Street, A Joyful Noise, and How Now Dow Jones. He would soon step out of the chorus and into a principal role in the Broadway musical Seesaw, which garnered him his first Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Less than a decade later, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in My One and Only.
Tune's talents were not limited to his onstage performances.

Throughout his career, he would go on to win an additional seven Tony Awards, four for Best Choreography (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Grand Hotel, My One and Only, The Will Rogers Follies) and three for Best Direction of a Musical (Nine, Grand Hotel, The Will Rogers Follies), bringing his total to an unprecedented nine Tony Awards.

In addition, his talents have been recognized by receiving eight Drama Desk Awards, three Astaire Awards, and the Society of Directors and Choreographers George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is also the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the country's highest honor for artistic achievement.
The versatile Tune's talents extend beyond the stage. His film credits include, Hello Dolly, The Boyfriend, Mimi Bluette, Fiore Del Mio Giardino, and Hollywood Blvd. He has been honored with a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. Throughout his career he has toured extensively in productions of Irma La Douce, Seesaw, Tommy Tune Tonight, My One and Only, Bye, Bye, Birdie, and his act with The Manhattan Rhythm Kings.

In his spare time, Tune enjoys painting in his Manhattan tower studio. Some of his work can be seen online

Most recently, Tune directed the new musical, Turn of the Century, at the esteemed Goodman Theatre in Chicago. The show, slated for Broadway, was written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice of Jersey Boys fame.

Manhattan Rhythm Kings: Known for their polished performances of American popular music from the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s, the Manhattan Rhythm Kings have gained a large and enthusiastic following across the country. While frequently compared with such musical greats as the Mills Brothers and Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys, the trio has established a unique character of its own with a combination of close harmony singing, virtuosic instrumental work, and spectacular tap dancing.

The Rhythm Kings started performing together on the sidewalks of New York in 1980. From there, these song and dance men graduated to playing some of the Big Apple’s top nightspots. It was their sparkling combination of song and dance that first attracted the attention of Broadway’s Tommy Tune. In 1984 Mr. Tune asked the trio to help him assemble an act based on songs written by Fred Astaire. Their collaboration continues today and the act has performed together in venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza, and a tour of the former Soviet Union, where they commanded standing ovations in Moscow, Tiblisi, and St. Petersburg.

The Kings are favorites at symphony pops concerts and have performed with over 80 orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, and the orchestras of Baltimore, Detroit, St.Louis, Cincinnati, Seattle, Indianapolis, Dallas and Pittsburgh, among others. The Rhythm Kings have made numerous appearances on television, most notably Evening at Pops with John Williams, Tommy Tune and the Boston Pops, as well as the Emmy-award winning Celebrating Gershwin with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. In addition, they’ve starred in their own special for Nebraska Public Television, and were featured with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony on their PBS special.

Other TV credits include The 1992 Tony Awards, the Today show, CBS, This Morning, The 1992 Kennedy Center Honors Awards, Entertainment Tonight, As the World Turns, as well as several appearances on the The Charles Grodin Show. The Manhattan Rhythm Kings have shared the stage with Bob Hope, George Burns, Leonard Bernstein, Judy Collins, Bette Midler and Gregory Hines. They also appeared at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes as part of Peter Allen’s Easter Spectacular.

In 1992 the Rhythm Kings were back on Broadway, this time indoors, at the Shubert Theatre. They were featured as Moose, Sam and Mingo, a trio of crooning bumpkins in the “new” Gershwin musical Crazy for You, winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Choreography. The Manhattan Rhythm Kings are proud to have performed with Tommy Tune in their latest song and dance review, “White Tie and Tails”, inaugurating New York City’s newest theater, the “Little Shubert”, on 42nd St. To quote John Simon of New York Magazine, “90 minutes you fervently wish would never end!”

The group also recently recorded with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks on the soundtrack of the Martin Scorsese film “The Aviator”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Their latest CD is a tribute to Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys. In addition to their busy schedule, the “King’s” have tour dates with Tommy Tune. Check out their full itinerary as well as information on how to order one of their five CDs at Myspace page:

The following shows are also part of the DSM 2011 season at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Pick A Packs that include any three DSM shows are available starting as low as $36. For more information, please visit
BURN THE FLOOR, April 5-17, 2011. Direct from Broadway, the new Broadway production proclaimed “Audience-Dazzling!” by The New York Times, brings back Ballroom Dancing, reinvented. Years before “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” turned ballroom dancing into must-see TV, one sizzling show was setting stages ablaze around the globe.

9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL, May 18-29, 2011. This musical is the most fun you will have all season, with its hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. The new musical comedy, direct from Broadway, is based on the hit movie and features Dolly Parton’s original hit title song along with her new Tony® Award and Grammy® nominated score.

STOMP, June 7-12, 2011. This one-week special returns to the Music Hall at Fair Park with new surprises! Explosive, provocative, sophisticated, sexy, and utterly unique, STOMP appeals to audiences of all ages.

MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, June 14-26, 2011. The second coming of Broadway’s #1 Musical Comedy Smash, called “A No-Holds-Barred Smash Hit” by The New Yorker. The funniest show on earth is back to taunt Dallas for a second time. Winner of the 2005 Tony® Award for Best Musical, SPAMALOT, the musical comedy sensation lovingly ripped off from the film classic “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” now returns to spread laughter and cheer throughout the kingdom.

GUYS AND DOLLS, July 19-31, 2011. Big League Productions is proud to announce a sparkling new production of the timeless Broadway classic, GUYS AND DOLLS. Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, this oddball romantic comedy—considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy—soars with the spirit of Broadway as it introduces us to the cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the canon. The New York Times calls it “The show that defines Broadway dazzle!”

WEST SIDE STORY, October 4-23, 2011, is also the 2011 State Fair of Texas musical. “Bold, fresh and transcendent,” said The New Yorker. More than 50 years ago, one musical changed theater forever. Back on Broadway mesmerizing audiences once again, from the first note to the final breath, WEST SIDE STORY soars as the greatest love story of all time. Directed by two-time Tony® Award winning librettist Arthur Laurents, WEST SIDE STORY remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever. The new Broadway cast album recently won the 2010 Grammy® Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Season sponsors for Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, are The Dallas Morning News, WFAA TV Channel 8, American Airlines, and Texas Instruments.
For more information about Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, visit their website at www.dallassummermusicals.orgor call (214) 421-5678.

Madelyn Miller is a travel and food writer who loves dance. Read her stories on,,,,,, and

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