Can't Get Enough of Tommy Tune!
Today’s DM archive photo is actually two pics we put together! On the left is Tommy Tune in a press shot for “Tommy Tune Tonight!” a Broadway show he did at the Gershwin Theatre for a limited run in December 1992. (Photo by Carmine Schiavone). On the right is a photo of Mr. Tune from 1983 by Kenn Duncan. We ran it in our August 1983 issue on p. 88 to celebrate his Tony win for My One and Only. On April 23, he’ll receive the 61st Annual Capezio Dance Award at New York City Center. (Tickets here).
And just for fun, the following Q&A with Tommy Tune appeared in the April 17th Dance Magazine e-newsletter. Subscribe at www.dancemagazine.com for more biweekly Dance Magazine exclusives like it!
Broadway director, choreographer and dancer extraordinaire Tommy Tune celebrates a life in the theater.
When Tommy Tune receives the 61st Annual Capezio Dance Award on April 23 at the Capezio 125th anniversary celebration in New York, it will be the latest in a long string of accolades for the 6’6″ Texan. A consummate showman, Tune has made his lanky, laid-back style a signature in musicals like My One and Only (which he also choreographed) and brought wit and old-fashioned charm to hits like The Will Rogers Follies (which he directed). He is now touring in Steps in Time, an autobiographical show. DM E-News talked to Tune about his idols, his painting, and his famous height.
In Steps in Time, you include a tribute to Honi Coles. What did you learn from him?
Every performance is dedicated to him–he was my favorite dancing partner of all time. I worked with him when he was 76, and now I’m approaching that age. His big word was “nonchalant”–he used to say, “Make it a little more nonchalant.” That’s a lot harder than it looks.
You paint as well as perform.
All the shows I directed, I painted first. It shows people what I mean. I envision a scene, and I paint it. If I see I need to rearrange something, it’s right in front of me. And it’s a solitary thing. Onstage you’re dependent on everybody–fellow dancers, actors, musicians. But when I paint, I’m alone in my studio. I take a breath and I go.
You’ve sponsored college scholarships for students interested in musical theater careers. Why do you feel college can be helpful?
It was for me. I was very naïve. I’m really glad I finished my college education before I became a professional. For me, it was important to know about more than dancing. What I learned at the University of Texas gave me a subliminal knowledge of the workings of the world.
How has your height affected your career?
My height was firstly a blessing for me, because I stood out. It gave me more to dance with. It was also a challenge. My dream was to dance in the chorus of a Broadway show, but I towered over everyone. That said, I kept getting hired, so I guess I was doing something right.