UM Department of Theatre Welcomes Tommy Tune

Star performer, choreographer and director to work with UM students

(January 04, 2011) — The University of Miami Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Arts & Sciences regularly hosts master classes and workshops with artists, actors, producers, casting directors, designers, and directors from around the world. Past guests have included Jerry Herman, Angela Lansbury, John Mayer, Lucie Arnaz, Laurence Luckenbill, André DeShields, and Michael McElroy among others.

This spring semester, Tommy Tune will visit with UM theatre students for a workshop. Known as one of the most prolific director/choreographers of the twentieth century, Tommy Tune has enchanted audiences over the past 50 years. Television, film and stage writer Mark Saltzman will also collaborate with Mr. Tune and UM students. 

The workshop, according to Department of Theatre Arts Chair Henry Fonte, will be focused on the initial exploration of Tune’s and Saltzman’s idea for a new musical, tentatively titled PROJECT 54.  The creators will be in residence with the department for two weeks, working with 21 students that were selected by Mr. Tune on a recent trip to UM.

Mr. Tune began his career as a dancer in the Broadway shows Baker Street, A Joyful Noise and How Now Dow Jones. He first stepped into a principal role in the Broadway musical Seesaw, which won him his first Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical. His first Broadway directing and choreography credits were for the original production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Tune has been honored with nine Tony Awards celebrating him as a performer, choreographer and director. In addition, Tune has been awarded 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 highest honor for artistic achievement given by the President of the United States, and he has been honored with his own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2009, Mr. Tune was designated as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and has recently unveiled his latest work, Steps In Time, A Broadway Biography in Song and Dance.

Mark Saltzman began his career in New York with Jim Henson, writing for the Muppets. His Sesame Street sketches and songs earned him seven Emmy Awards. At the same time, Saltzman was writing cabaret shows and musicals. He co-wrote the long-running revue A, My Name is Alice.

Mark’s musical play, The Tin Pan Alley Rag opened in 1997 and was nominated for five Los Angeles Ovation Awards, including Best Musical. In June of 2009 the play made its New York debut at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre.

Mark’s stage musical, Romeo and Bernadette, played at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami and New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. His newest play, Clutter: The True Story of the Collyer Brothers Who Never Threw Anything Out, had its world premier at the Colony Theater in Burbank in 2004.

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