The Scene

IVCC to present ‘Tootsie’ for 2 weeks in April

Comedy features several lead roles from area actors

Jake Jakielski (pictured as actor/actress Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels) headlines Illinois Valley Community College’s spring musical production of “Tootsie – The Comedy Musical,” which also features Dr. Tracey Childers, Greg Tullis, Crystal Credi, Brian Towne, Rebecca Eltravoog, Xavier Barnham, Genarro Piccolo and a cast of students and community members. The show, based on the 1982 movie about an actor’s unorthodox scheme to revive his sagging career, opens April 11 for a two-weekend run.

Illinois Valley Community College’s theater department will present “Tootsie – The Comedy Musical” on two weekends in April. Tickets are on sale now.

Based on the 1982 Dustin Hoffman movie and featuring a cast of community members, college students and staff, the production will be staged from April 11 to 14 and April 18 to 21 in the IVCC Cultural Centre. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays.

“Considering the amazing source material (the 1982 movie), this movie-to-stage musical has updated the story in such a clever way, I think it’s actually funnier than the film,” said Don Grant Zellmer, IVCC director and choreographer of musical theater. “The billing as a comedy-musical instead of the traditional musical-comedy is absolutely accurate.

While the music is sensational, first and foremost is the smart comedy of this show, which is probably one of the funniest scripts I’ve worked with.”

“Tootsie” is described as a “love letter to musical theater” and is set in New York. Michael Dorsey is a skilled actor with a talent for not keeping a job. Desperate and out of work, Michael makes a last-ditch effort at making his dreams come true – by disguising himself as actress Dorothy Michaels. In a meteoric rise to Broadway stardom, Michael (disguised as  Dorothy) soon charms his audiences while falling in love with his co-star, Julie. I

t isn’t long before Michael realizes that maintaining his greatest acting success is going to be much harder than he expected.

Jake Jakielski of Marseilles stars as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels, and Dr. Tracey Childers of Ottawa plays his love interest, Julie.

Featured players include community members Rebecca Eltravoog of Oglesby, Xavier Barnham of DeKalb, Greg Tullis of Streator, Crystal Credi of Peru, Brian Towne of La Salle and student Genarro Piccolo of Spring Valley.

The company includes community member Bree Ninis of Streator and students Azlyn Buchman of Ottawa, McKenzie Bruce of Streator, Eva Horwath of Peru and Michael Shaw of Peru.

“This cast is bringing their A-game to a challenging rehearsal process,” Zellmer said. “The comedy is nonstop, and these seasoned performers are hitting all the right beats – from the neurotic ex-girlfriend to Michael’s snarky roommate and the stupendously dumb reality show star making his Broadway debut.

“Audiences are in for a rare treat of a musical designed to make you laugh like crazy, but care about these people and root for them.”

The musical contains adult themes and frequent, coarse language, and may not be suitable for children.

The production is directed and choreographed by Zellmer, produced by Dr. David Kuester, with technical direction by Chad Brokaw, music direction by Alex Guerrero and stage management by Alyce Scott.

Tickets are available by visiting Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students in high school and younger.

“Tootsie – The Comedy Musical” is the first of several productions planned for 2024, IVCC’s 100-year celebration. Theater has been a part of the college as long as the college has existed, and an alumni show is just one of the upcoming projects the department plans to celebrate.

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