FOOTNOTES by Tommy Tune


A Memoir
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 A breezy, episodic series of autobiographical vignettes and musings on life by the Tony-winning dancer/choreographer/director. Yes, Tommy Tune is his real name, and he drops plenty of other famous ones, from Michael Bennett and Twiggy to Agnes De Mille and Gene Kelly, as he chronicles his odyssey from Texas tyke to Broadway triple-threat. His prose is often perilously folksy- -especially his annoying habit of reproducing the way he talks in words like ``whistlin' '' and ``fascinatin' ''--but, like his friend Carol Channing (portrayed with loving three-dimensionality), Tune is smarter than his public persona suggests. His thoughtful observations on everything from getting older (he's 58) to his tendency toward dead-end relationships give this book more depth than the usual show-biz memoir. Descriptions of his work as a performer (Seesaw, My One and Only, etc.) and director (Nine, Grand Hotel, etc.) are nicely specific (to use a favorite Tune adjective) and offer real insight into how musicals are collaboratively created. The author is generous with praise for coworkers like director Mike Nichols and designer Tony Walton, but frank about artistic disagreements, and merciless in airing personal grievances, as when Lucie Arnaz refused to kiss him onstage because she feared he might have AIDS or when a longtime boyfriend took him to a humiliating Christmas dinner at the apartment of the boyfriend's new lover. Tune is enthusiastically bisexual, and a couple of raunchy sex scenes may offend the squeamish. But his love for the theater and the people who give their lives to it makes this an engaging and occasionally touching work. Scrambled chronology and general vagueness about dates are in keeping with the casual tone. Waxing earthy and ethereal by turns, the six-foot-six Tune here lives up to his dancing teacher's admonition: ``Tommy, you've got your head in the clouds, be sure to keep your feet on the ground.'' (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-684-84182-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1997