Cotuit Center for the Arts presents “The Who’s Tommy,” with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend, March 19 through April 5. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. The show is directed and designed by Tristan DiVincenzo with musical direction by Malcolm Granger.
“This show has been on the bucket list for many people here at Cotuit Center for the Arts! We are so excited to bring this project to our stage with a fresh new angle. It is incredible to listen to the score and see how much contemporary rock music and Broadway shows have been influenced by this the first pioneering epic rock opera,” said DiVincenzo.
Based on the iconic 1969 rock concept album, “The Who's Tommy,” is an exhilarating story of hope, healing, and the human spirit. The legend of the pinball-playing, deaf, dumb and blind boy who triumphs over his adversities has inspired, amazed, and puzzled audiences for more than 50 years and still resonates today.
Michael Cameron, who is currently starring in Eventide Theatre‘s production of assassins, plays Tommy in this high-energy, one-of-a-kind theatrical event, featuring such memorable songs as “Tommy Can You Hear Me,” “I’m Free,” “Pinball Wizard,” and “We’re Not Going to Take It/See Me, Feel Me.”
Captain Walker, a British Army Captain played by Beau Jackett, goes missing in action when his wife Nora, played by Rebecca Riley, is pregnant with Tommy. Years later Captain Walker returns and discovers that Nora has a new lover. The two men fight and Captain Walker accidently kills his wife’s lover, while four-year-old Tommy (played by Teagan Lebedevitch and Juliet Seeley) watches. Mrs. Walker convinces Tommy that he didn’t see anything, and he becomes deaf, dumb, and blind to the world.
Frustrated with Tommy’s catatonia, Tommy’s parents neglect him, and 10-year-old Tommy (played by Tallulah Bossi and Shelby Locascio) suffers abuse at the hands of his sadistic relatives and others, including Cousin Kevin (Keirnon McDermott), Uncle Ernie (Cleo Zani) and Gypsy the Acid Queen (Liz Solomon). Tommy discovers he has an uncanny knack for playing pinball, becoming an international pinball wizard. He goes on to become a spiritual leader and attracts fervent followers, including Sally Simpson (Lily Anderson).
The ensemble includes Lily Anderson, Jon Cornet, Christopher Edwards, Treather Gassmann, Mike Good, Joe Hackler, Ken Holland, Eric Johnson, Haley Kelsey, Jane Loutzenhiser, Christopher Luz Roque, Connor McInerney, Sam Sewell, Laura Shea, Amanda Wing, and Diana Young.
The band is re-assembled from last year's Queen tribute "We Are The Champions.” The featured players include drummer Michael Dunford, Misao Koyama on keyboards, Jim Peterson on bass, and guitarist Gregg Sullivan.
The Who’s breakthrough album, “Tommy” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 for its “historic, artistic, and significant value.”
The Who performed “Tommy” at Woodstock and throughout US and England, including a performance with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1972. “Tommy” was adapted as a film in 1975.
Townshend began work on the musical with La Jolla Playhouse director Des McAnuff in 1991, when he broke his wrist and couldn’t play guitar. The show ran from 1993 to 1995 on Broadway, winning Tony awards for Best Musical Score, Best Director, Best Choreographer, and two others, as well as four Drama Desk awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. McAnuff will direct a Broadway revival in 2021.
Tickets are $38, $33 for balcony seating. There is a $5 discount for members and a $2 discount for seniors and veterans. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, visit www.artsonthecape.orgor call 508-428-0669.
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“The Who’s Tommy”
Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Route 28, Cotuit
March 19 to April 5, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM; Sunday at 2 PM
$38, $33 for balcony seats. $5 discount for members and $2 discount for seniors and veterans