Tootsie - PLOT SYNOPSIS

2019 Broadway
Tootsie the Musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS


Act One

Michael Dorsey, a struggling actor, is fired after causing a scene during rehearsals in a show directed by Ron Carlisle. Due to his demeanor, he is unable to get any other parts ("Opening Number"). While closing up the steakhouse they work at, Michael complains to his roommate, Jeff Slater, about how nobody wants to hire him. Since it's Michael's 40th birthday, Jeff decides to read him the bucket list he made when he was 19, reading off everything Michael swore to accomplish in 20 years. Michael, angered by this, thinks about how little he's accomplished ("Whaddya Do"). Sandy Lester, Michael's neurotic ex-girlfriend, arrives at their apartment for his birthday and immediately starts bickering about how terrible her life is. Michael, expecting a party, arrives and is surprised by Sandy and Jeff. After thanking them, Sandy gets Michael to help her with her audition for the musical Juliet's Curse. She fails to do good and panics about all the things she knows will happen at her audition ("What's Gonna Happen").

Michael goes to his agent, Stan Fields, that afternoon and demands to know why he didn't get called back. They argue and Stan tells him that he is incredibly hard to work and get along with and that he will never work again. Michael storms out, desperate for a job. But while looking through Sandy's script, he gets an idea ("Whaddya Do Reprise 1"). At the auditions, women are auditioning for the role of the Nurse but are all getting turned down. When it's finally Sandy's turn she refuses to stop singing the moment she gets turned down, but eventually gives up and leaves. Dorothy Michaels, Michael's made up female alter ego, enters, and humbles the producer Rita Marshall. She sings the audition song and is hired by Ron and Rita ("I Won't Let You Down"). Dorothy meets Jeff at the steakhouse and reveals himself to be Michael, to Jeff's dismay. Jeff tells him that what he is doing is stupid and incredibly harmful to any kind of woman and asks what he will tell Sandy, since he took her role. Michael says they won't tell her and talks about his plans with Dorothy. The next day at rehearsals, Dorothy witnesses the mess of a show Juliet's Curse is. She meets the dimwit reality star winner of Race To Bachelor Island, Max Van Horn, who was cast as Romeo's brother named Craig. She also meets the actress starring as Juliet, Julie Nichols. They perform the song of Juliet celebrating her survival, choreographed by Ron Carlisle ("I'm Alive").

After the show, Julie and Dorothy have lunch together. They talk about what a mess the show is and Julie tells Dorothy about her dreams, and about how she chose them over a relationship and she'd do it again ("There Was John") Dorothy and Julie agree on a way to make the show better. After a few days at rehearsal, Dorothy improvises into getting Craig to fall in love with the Nurse instead of Juliet, while Julie plays along. Ron is infuriated with this, but everyone in the team sides with Dorothy, including Rita. She lets Dorothy lead the show. Everyone is extremely happy with the changes, Julie is finally satisfied with the show, Max is attracted to Dorothy after she helps him act, and though Ron is extremely unhappy with her being in charge, Rita changes the show's name to Juliet's Nurse ("I Like What She's Doing"). After the show, Dorothy and Julie head back to Julie's apartment. While Julie talks about herself and Dorothy listens, Michael is realizing that he is in love with her ("Who Are You").

Michael heads back home to tell Jeff about his day with Julie, which is interrupted by Sandy at the door. She asks Michael where he's been and tells him she's been devastated about not getting the part. After a small tangent of how horrible her life is, Michael promises to have dinner with her to make it up to her. She agrees to it, but panics knowing that something will go wrong and Michael will probably stand her up ("What's Gonna Happen Reprise"). She leaves. Jeff tells Michael that what he's doing is ridiculous and he won't be able to get away with it without hurting people, which he is already doing. Michael is too blind to understand this, he disagrees and says Dorothy will be successful and around forever ("Unstoppable"). Still daydreaming about his success, he runs into Julie as Dorothy who thanks her. Dorothy kisses her on impulse and scares Julie off.


Act Two

Back at his apartment, Jeff sums up everything Michael has done and messed up. Michael gets a call telling him that the cast is going to see Julie sing at a bar, so he decides to go and meet Julie himself there ("Jeff Sums It Up"). Julie sings a song about her feelings towards Dorothy ("Gone, Gone, Gone"). After the song, Michael catches Ron's attention and discovers that he's taking all the credit for Dorothy. Even more motivated to talk to Julie now, he goes up to her and tries to flirt, which results in her throwing wine in his face. They go back home and Jeff makes fun of him, when they're interrupted again by Sandy. She yells at Michael for standing her up and tells him she deserves better, but before leaving again, she informs them about Dorothy getting the role and how annoying she is. Michael tells her that she shouldn't be envious of another woman's success, Sandy says no and leaves.

Michael decides he will go over to Julie's as Dorothy and have Dorothy be honest to her. At Julie's apartment, Ron is trying to get Julie to date him while Julie rejects him every time. Dorothy comes, and Julie lets her in. Ron blames Julie disliking him on Dorothy, to which she defends herself and Julie. After getting Ron to leave, Julie tells Dorothy that she thinks she has feelings for Dorothy and wants to pursue them. Dorothy quickly rejects her, upsetting Julie, who thought they had started something special ("Who Are You Reprise"). Michael heads back home. While undressing himself, he hears Max singing for Dorothy outside. After he is yelled at by a neighbor twice, he decides to let him in. He goes and proclaims his love to Dorothy through a ballad and an infected tattoo of her face on his chest ("This Thing"). Right after he finishes, Jeff walks in on them and calls Dorothy a trollop. Max attempts to fight him but is told to leave by Dorothy.

After getting him to leave, Michael finally sheds himself of Dorothy and tells Jeff about his day. After proclaiming that this couldn't get any worse, Stan comes in. He tells Michael that he has booked a role in a play. Michael tells him he is unable to take it because he's doing Jeff's play, to which he tells him that it's the worst decision he's ever made in his life and leaves. Michael decides he wants to try and fix things with Julie again ("Whaddya Do Reprise"). But while half dressed as Dorothy, Stan comes back and walks in on them. At first he greets Dorothy as if nothing was wrong, then returns in agony. Stan tells him that what he's doing is insane and he fires him again. It's the next day and the cast and crew are celebrating opening night ("The Most Important Night"). Before the show in Dorothy's dressing room, Rita congratulates and thanks Dorothy for her impact on the show, extending her contract another year as an opening night gift. Dorothy tells her to pay Julie the same as Max and she will take it. After Rita leaves, Max enters. Max thanks Dorothy for believing in him when he had always felt different from everyone else, and declares that he will thrust into her opening. Dorothy tells him that he doesn't need her help and to trust in himself. After Max leaves, Julie walks in to leave a note and tells Dorothy that she has never been anything but honest to her, and tells her that she means a lot to her and loves her, but they probably shouldn't see each other anymore. Michael, as Dorothy, thinks about everything he has gotten himself into and regrets ("Talk To Me Dorothy").

Dorothy and the cast are now performing the finale for Juliet's Nurse ("Arrivederci!"). Michael interrupts the song as Nurse, and begins improvising, with Max joining her as Craig halfway. Julie, out of character, stops her and asks what she's doing. Dorothy has no choice but to reveal herself as Michael Dorsey, a desperate actor who just wanted to work. Everyone on stage, including Rita and Ron, are shocked. Julie, hurt, is at a loss of words and runs off. Max, also hurt, asks Michael if Jeff knows. The situation is already all over the news, and Sandy comes into their apartment and throws a tantrum. As soon as she starts complaining about her life again, Jeff tells her to stop blaming Michael's narcissism on her lack of success. They begin fighting over each other's flaws until Jeff hits on her, and it turns out they are attracted to each other. Just as they are about to kiss, Sandy panics about how what they're doing is a bad idea, but is cut off by Jeff kissing her ("What's Gonna Happen Reprise 2"). They run off into the bedroom, and Michael comes home a little while later. Jeff greets him and Michael talks about his guilt and regret, and how Dorothy was so much smarter than he'll ever be. He apologizes to Sandy as well, who doesn't accept it but realizes she shouldn't have been so dependent on Michael. Jeff shows Michael the play he started based on his situation, while Michael wonders if Julie will ever speak to him again ("Michael's Reprise"). Michael goes to meet Julie at the park, and tries to apologize and talk to her. Julie lashes out at him, telling him he won't ever understand what women go through and how bad he's hurt everyone on that stage. Michael tells her he's willing to learn, and he turns to leave, but Julie stops him. She tells him she relates to him risking everything for acting, and allows Michael to stay and talk ("Thank You").


Songs from musical: Tootsie the Musical Lyrics
Synopsis to Tootsie the Musical Plot