“I met him and he looked like he was seven feet tall,” says Tania Castroverde Moskalenko, executive director of the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, which is presenting Steps in Time on Saturday. The show is an intimate, all-singing, all-dancing, all-storytelling celebration of Tune’s 50 years on the Broadway stage working with artists such as Ann Reinking, Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing, Ben Vereen, Gregory Hines, and with Gene Kelly, who gave Tune the best advice he’d ever received: “Tommy, dance better.”
Tune, who is by his own admission “5 foot 17 and three-quarters,” did just that. He also sang better, acted better, and directed better, racking up nine Tony Awards for shows like The Will Rogers Follies, Nine, and Grand Hotel. He proved to be a versatile artist able to create zany choreography for musicals like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine then work on edgy experimental comedies like Caryl Churchill’s time-bending Cloud Nine.
Moskalenko describes Steps in Time as a chance for audiences to really get to know the artist, comparing it to the venue’s recent evening with Marvin Hamlisch.
Tune, now 73, will take viewers on a step-by-step tour through the musical moments that made him one of Broadway’s brightest stars, performing songs by George and Ira Gershwin, Leiber and Stoller, Cy Coleman, and Irving Berlin.