Santino Fontana (left) with Lilli Cooper in a scene from "Tootsie." (Photo by Matthew Murphy)
Actor Santino Fontana can “Tootsie” his own horn, if he were that kind of guy.
Best known for giving voice to Prince Hans in Disney's "Frozen," the graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA training program is starring as the title character in the new Broadway musical adaptation of “Tootsie.”
His face now splashed on billboards and bus ads across New York City, Fontana snagged his second Tony nomination for playing Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels, the character made famous by Dustin Hoffman in the Oscar-winning 1982 film.
The plot, a reversal of "Victor/Victoria," revolves around an actor who isn't getting roles because he's so difficult to work with. But he strikes gold when he disguises himself as a woman.
During an appearance last Friday on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Fontana revealed that his "Hello Dolly" costar Bernadette Peters helped him with hair choices. He also addressed concerns that the plot might be problematic in today's more gender-sensitive society:
“This actor makes a terrible decision to pretend to be a woman – a terrible decision, but an incredibly entertaining one. … That was 37 years ago, so [in] 2019 what’s changed today is a lot. And we have addressed all of those issues I think very well. They’re terrifying and we dealt with them, as well as we could.”
Fontana has had a steady stream of celeb visitors to “Tootsie,” including Carol Burnett, Billy Crystal, Anna Deavere Smith, Fran Drescher and Tina Fey.
The musical, which has 11 Tony nominations, was composed by David Yazbek (“The Full Monty,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) with a book adapted by Robert Horn.
It is Fontana's ninth show in Times Square, and adds luster to a Broadway resume that includes “Billy Elliot,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.”
He previously was nominated for a Tony for playing Prince Topher in “Cinderella” opposite Twin Citian Laura Osnes. He won a Drama Desk Award in 2010 for his turn in Neil Simon's “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”