NY Post on The Boy Who Heard Music
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Wed May 30 05:51:34 CDT 2007
TOWNSHEND SHOW GETS VASSAR DEBUT
by Michael Riedel
May 30, 2007 -- THIS summer, while "The Little Mermaid" gets its sea legs in Denver and "Young Franken stein" gets up off the table in Seattle, a promising new rock musical by Pete Townshend will have its world premiere a lot closer to home.
The show is called "The Boy Who Heard Music," and it will be performed just two nights - July 13 and 14 - at the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.
It's already a hot ticket - you can expect to see a line of black sedans on campus disgorging Broadway producers, theater owners and investors, who'll be there to see if Townshend's come up with another "Tommy," his seminal 1969 rock musical that was produced on Broadway in 1993 to great acclaim.
That production, directed by Des McAnuff ("Jersey Boys"), was one of the shows that sparked Broadway's resurgence in the 1990s, shaking up an industry that had grown musty with second-rate revivals and long-running British pop operas from the '80s.
Based on Townshend's novella (which appeared only on the Internet), "The Boy Who Heard Music" is about an aging rock star who looks back on the band he formed as a teenager with three friends from his neighborhood.
A friend of Townshend says the story is "intensely autobiographical." It draws on Townshend's relationships with Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon and John Entwistle, with whom he formed The Who.
About half the score is made up of songs from The Who's 2006 album "Endless Wire." The rest was written especially for the musical.
"The Boy Who Heard Music" was originally going to be, as "Tommy" initially was, a rock movie musical, starring Johnny Depp and directed by Terry Gilliam.
But when the movie version was put on hold, Townshend decided to try it as a stage show. It will be directed at Vassar by Ethan Silverman, although people involved in the musical think that, if it's any good, a top-drawer director - most likely McAnuff - will come on board to shepherd it to London's West End or Broadway.
Townshend has long been a fan of musical theater. In addition to "Tommy," he wrote the great "Quadrophenia," which was staged at Madison Square Garden in 1995.
(Note to producers: This haunting piece would make an excellent Broadway musical.)
He also made a stab at musicalizing poet laureate Robert Hughes' "Iron Man" before it was turned into an animated movie. And he's long wanted to adapt Arthur Miller's memoir "Timebends" to the stage.
It's unclear if Townshend will be on hand for the premiere of "The Boy Who Heard Music," since he's scheduled to tour Europe with Daltrey this summer.
Says a source: "Roger always needs money. He's always after Pete to tour. And Pete never says no."
-Brian in Atlanta
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