ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The musical ‘Tootsie’ has its opening night at the Rochester Broadway Theater League on Tuesday.

News 8’s Ally Peters spoke with Jared David Michael Grant, a Rochester native and lead actor in the musical, to hear more about the show.

What is ‘Tootsie’ the musical about?

“Tootsie the Musical is based on the 1982 film with Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lang and Bill Murray,” Grant said. “The story is of a difficult, yet talented actor, Michael Dorsey, who is working in his field, but he has a terrible attitude so he’s never is able to keep a job.”

“So he comes up with a terrible idea to dress as a woman to get a job and he gets the job. And the story is basically, you see his rise and fall from this decision that he has made.” 

What cast member do you play in the show?

“I play the role of Jeff Slater. He’s the best friend and roommate to Michael Dorsey,” Grant said. “I like to say I’m kind of like his conscience that he does not listen to, the voice of reason, kind of the voice of the audience. I’m always like, ‘you shouldn’t be doing this and here are the reasons why you shouldn’t be doing this,’ and then you see that because he didn’t listen to me, another thing has happened and it adds on to the plot of the story.”

You’re from Rochester. What was your journey like getting to where you are today?

Grant grew up in Rochester and attended the School of the Arts. He was a vocal major but switched to performing arts. After graduating high school, he attended Columbia College in Chicago until 2013.

“When I graduated in 2013, I just decided to stay and immerse myself in a theatre community in Chicago, and since then, I’ve just been working, doing a lot of musical theater and plays there,” Grant said.

“I’ve done a little bit of TV, hopefully, some more in the future, maybe some films, who knows. And then that brought me here. I auditioned for this show right before the pandemic hit. And then I got the job, and then they pushed it back, and then here we are a year two. So it’s been a blessing.”

What would you say to aspiring actors out there who are just getting into the business?

“Really, just like building the confidence in yourself. It’s such a crazy game that we’re in. It’s a field where you get a lot of “no’s” and that can definitely take a toll on your mental psyche,” Grant said. “But having a great support system, good friends who keep you motivated, good family members who keep you motivated, it’s really good to have a good support system. Make sure you surround yourself with people who are going to constantly push you to be a better person.” 

What does it mean to you to be back on stage in the city you grew up in?

“It means so much. It hasn’t hit me yet. I think on opening night it’s definitely going to be very overwhelming,” Grant said. “Right now, I’m in a state of daze. I’m just like, ‘this is happening, little Jared is losing his mind right now.'”

Why should people come to see Tootsie at RBTL?

“You should come to see the show just to forget about the problems of the world and just laugh,” Grant said. “It is a very funny show, that’s what drew me to the script. Just reading it, I had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, and then a lot of the audience have the same reaction. They love it.”

‘Tootsie’ runs Tuesday through Sunday at RBTL. To get your tickets, click here. You can also call the box office at 585-277-3325.

Performance times:
Tuesday – 7:30 PM

Wednesday – 7:30 PM
Thursday – 7:30 PM
Friday – 8:00 PM
Saturday – 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday – 1:00 PM & 6:30 PM