NEW YORK (AP) — Tommy Tune has jumped in to replace an injured Chita Rivera at the Cafe Carlyle, but he says he’s not exactly stepping into her petite shoes.
“To step into her shoes is a bad analogy not just because of my big ol’ clompers, but her talent is bigger than my feet,” said the 6-foot-6-inch song-and-dance man. “So it’s a challenge. I’m so excited.”
Tune, who received his 10th Tony Award this summer, has taken over Rivera’s Jan. 12-23 slot at the legendary venue as she recovers from a pelvic stress fracture. Rivera will instead take the stage April 19-30.
On Monday, Tune was making up his playlist with his music director, Michael Biagi, saying he wanted to add fresh material. “It makes it personal to the room,” he said.
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Fans can expect Cole Porter’s “Too Darn Hot,” Marcos Valle’s “Summer Samba,” and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “Feelin’ Too Good Today Blues.” There will also be some tunes by Burt Bacharach, Carole King and the Gershwins. He also hopes to add “Rosie” from the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” as a tribute to Rivera, who was in the original musical.
Tune directed such Broadway musicals as “Nine” starring Raul Julia, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” ”My One and Only” with Twiggy, “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies.”
The 76-year-old intends to make use of his traveling tap board so he can also dance. He has just returned from a two-week gig at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, and will be making his second appearance at the Cafe Carlyle.
He likened his rushing from venue to venue to the days of vaudeville, when performers would do their sets and then rush to the local train station to do it again elsewhere.
“This is real show business. This is the way it used to be,” he said with a laugh.