Q&A with Broadway Legend Tommy Tune

Broadway’s legendary Tommy Tune performs “Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales at Adelphi University on Saturday, May 10. The show is a biography of his 55-year career in show business from his arrival in New York through today. Pulse Insider recently spoke with Tune about the show, what a typical day is like for him and what’s changed in the industry.

Long Island Pulse Insider: What’s a typical day like for you?
Tommy Tune:
I don’t have typical days, because show business is not typical. This is the latest I’ve ever slept. It’s the first time in years I woke up at 10:30 a.m. I’m performing at the Carlyle and last night some of my friends saw the show. We went back to my suite and had champagne and chips. Champagne and potato chips those are my vices. That and I take long showers.

It’s been a pretty good day. I made some coffee and you called. The next thing that happens is my trainer arrives at 11:30 a.m. Then I take the day as it comes.

Pulse Insider: You haven’t slowed down during your career. How do you account for having so much energy?
I give that too my parents. We were taught that if when your head hits the pillow at night you’re not dog tired you’ve cheated. We’re workers. I’m a worker and I love it. I love to get things accomplished so I’m not one to laze around.

On a day of a rest after going to church, I like to have some friends over for brunch, which I make, and then I like to just get a good book or the Sunday Times and catch up on the week. I just finished reading the “The Goldfinch” and I’ve been recommending it to all my friends.

Pulse Insider: Are you a fast reader?
I don’t rush. Way back when I was a teenager I took a speed reading class because I felt like I was a slow reader. Writers work really hard on creating a perfect sentence so who am I am to rush through it. I really savor the words as they come up and when you get a good book it’s just so exciting.

Pulse Insider: What’s your creative process like?
I like to get in the creative mode and I do that by taking walks and long showers. I think very well in water. Then I go to art galleries, museums, exhibits, you just never know where the inspiration is going to come from. But you also need to know how to drop off. Take in as much as you can but at the end of day know what to drop off and let go of.

Everything that you do in life is a creative act and if you really apply yourself to each moment of your life you can live your life in a state of permanent creation. Whether it’s folding your clothes after you’ve done the laundry or painting a masterpiece, it’s all a creative act. I think that’s the key to a fulfilled life. I can’t do it all the time, but that’s what I aspire too.

Pulse Insider: What’s changed in the industry? Where do you see it going?
When I first came to New York there were no microphones on Broadway. We sang and we sang out.

Then the first amplification put microphones on the floor and that was just terrible because every time you’d walk on stage you’d hear clump, clump, clump.

And now everybody wears microphones. Sometimes instead of leaning forward in my seat, I sit very far back cause the sound is so loud. I think one thing we’ve lost in overamping the theater is the essence of live theater. Live theater is nuance and we want to be pulled in and understand the human condition. I’m for that. We cannot go back to having nothing, but over amplification is an enemy to live theater.

Pulse Insider: You’re coming out to Long Island soon. What do you like about performing on Long Island?
I’ll have to let you know. I think this is my Long Island debut.

I love to tour. At this point in my life I love touring, I love to get in a show that takes me out for a few months. I just love seeing what a city has to offer by day and then doing my show at night. That’s sort of a dream job for me. I’m nomadic by birth.

Pulse Insider: If you weren’t in theater what would you do?
Short Order Cook. I can really whip up a breakfast. I can get the toast and the eggs and bacon all going at the same time and serve it up hot. I’m very good at that.