Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff .
Music and Lyrics by Pete Townshend.
Additional Music and Lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon.
A deaf, dumb and blind boy’s journey from pain to triumph is a sensory-defying rock and roll experience. Based on the iconic 1969 rock concept album, The Who’s Tommy is an exhilarating story of hope, healing, and the human spirit. The story of the pinball-playing, deaf, dumb and blind boy who triumphs over his adversities has inspired, amazed, and puzzled audiences for more than 40 years. This five-time TONY Award-winning musical was translated to the stage by theatrical wizard Des McAnuff into a high-energy, one-of-a-kind theatrical event.
Feeling that he had captured most of what was happening in his head, Townshend played a rough version of the album for critic Nik Cohn, who was not as impressed with the scope of Tommy as Pete was. The two discussed Cohn’s reaction and concluded that the serious tragedies of the story could be lightened by the presence of a breezier tune. Knowing that Cohn was a pinball buff, Pete suggested that Tommy could be a mystical master of pinball. Townshend hastily wrote “Pinball Wizard” and The Who recorded it in the winter of 1969. They slapped it in the middle of side three and Cohn now called Tommy “a masterpiece.”
Other critics were similarly taken with Tommy, lavishing praise on the double-LP as a breakthrough for The Who and as one of the most daring albums in rock and roll. With “Pinball Wizard” as a hit single and The Who hitting the road for marathon performances of (most of) Tommy along with other live staples, the album introduced the band to a new level of superstardom. As the lead vocalist, Roger Daltrey became Tommy for the audience – especially in the band’s widely seen, and heavily fringed, Woodstock appearance. The singer discovered a new, more powerful voice in the Tommy performances (listen to him on Live at the Isle of Wight or Live at Leeds). He stopped trying to sing like the high-voiced Townshend and found a lower, fuller sound that would be his calling card for the rest of his time as a frontman.
Of course, the Tommy story doesn’t end there. In 1972 there was an all-star orchestral recording and, in 1975, it became a surrealistic movie directed by Ken Russell and starring Daltrey, the rest of The Who, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and Elton John. In 1989, all-star casts were assembled for Who reunion performances in New York and Los Angeles. And, in 1993, The Who’s Tommy became a full-blown, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.
Tommy, the original album, remains a cornerstone of rock culture as music’s most famous rock opera. It’s one of The Who’s most commercially successful albums, having sold more than 20 million copies. If Tommy’s reputation has since been downgraded from “masterpiece” (because of Pete’s pretensions or some silly plot-connector songs), it’s partially because Townshend topped himself in 1973 with The Who’s more substantial Quadrophenia. One rock opera is never enough!
- Preview Night is Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ($23 & $27)
- Opening Night is Friday, July 10, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ($38 – includes Opening Night Elegance)
- Evening and Matinee Performances will run July 11 – 26, 2015 at 8pm and 2pm. ($29 & $35)
- Dinner & Show Night is July 9 and includes a 6:00 p.m. pre-show dinner at Paradiso prior to the 8:00 p.m. performance.The all-inclusive dinner/show package price is $72 and includes a three-course meal and premium seats for the preview performance.
Buy tickets online at http://www.lakeworthplayhouse.org/tommy.html or call 561-586-6410
ABOUT LAKE WORTH PLAYHOUSE
Lake Worth Playhouse is located at 713 Lake Ave in Downtown Lake Worth. Valet Parking is available for $5. Street and lot parking is also available.
Lake Worth Playhouse is a non-profit community theatre with a diverse array of offerings, including award-winning dramas, comedies, musicals, area premieres, Broadway favorites, children’s shows, ballets and operas on film, live concerts, improv comedy and alternative programming. In addition to its main stage theatrical fare, the Playhouse presents year-round independent and foreign films in the Stonzek Theatre, an intimate black-box style theatre equipped with a large viewing screen and high-definition projection. The Playhouse is proud to offer a variety of educational programs for adults and children, as well as community outreach initiatives that bring cultural programs into the neighborhoods of underserved youth and also make theatre available free of charge for disadvantaged citizens in the community.