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The Life Of Tommy Tune Essay

1520 words - 6 pages

Childhood EnvironmentTommy Tune was born Thomas James Tune in Wichita Falls, Texas to oil rig worker, horse trainer, and restaurateur, Jim Pridemore, and Eva Mae Clark. Tommy Tune had an interest in dance and ballet as a youngster. He produced theatrical dramas and comedies in the family's garage. His interest in dance was crushed in high school when he reached six feet, six inches tall; he knew he could not have a classical dance career at this height, so he concentrated on the theater. He attended Lamar High School in Houston and the Methodist-affiliated Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas, and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 1962 and then took take graduate courses at the University of Houston. Tommy then moved to New York to start his career.First Signs of TalentTommy Tune first danced onto the Broadway scene in the chorus of Baker Street in 1965. While admitting his first love is the American Broadway experience, Tommy Tune did choose to appear in two movie films early in his career. He appeared as Ambrose Kemper in the movie version of Hello Dolly! directed by Gene Kelly and starring Barbra Streisand, and was featured in Ken Russell's The Boyfriend, starring Twiggy. He took his talents into television with his work as Assistant Choreographer for The Dean Martin Show. His first Broadway directing and choreography credits were for the original production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1978.Training for CareerTommy began tap dancing, acrobatics and ballet lessons at the age of 5. He majored in drama at the University of Texas and the University of Houston. Drama critic John Simon described him "as long on talent as on legs", a sentiment echoed around the globe by critics and audiences alike.Early SuccessHe worked in the chorus' of A Joyful Noise" in 1967 and How Now Dow Jones in 1968. He garnered raves and his first Tony (Best Featured Actor in a Musical) in Michael Bennett's Seesaw in 1973. Branching out, he directed his first show, the off-Broadway production of The Club in 1976. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was his next venture followed by A Day in the Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine and his second Tony (Best Choreography).Influential CollaboratorsHe played Ambrose Kemper in the movie version of Hello Dolly!, directed by Gene Kelly and starring Barbra Streisand; and, after working as assistant choreographer for "The Dean Martin Show" on television, he was featured in Ken Russell's The Boyfriend starring Twiggy. The two were reunited on Broadway in My One and Only. He works often with The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, for example touring in a Big Band revue entitled Song and Dance Man and White Tie and Tails (2002). Tune also toured the United States and Canada in the musical Bye Bye Birdie, directed by Gene Saks. His collaboration with director Peter Masterson and choreographer Thomie Walsh on The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas earned him another Tony Award in...

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