The Who's Tommy revival in Hollywood

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Feb 21 05:51:34 CST 2008

>From Playbill:

Egan, Duff and Hendryx Set for The Who's Tommy in Los Angeles

 By Andrew Gans       

and Robert Simonson 

 20 Feb 2008

A two-week production of The Who's Tommy will be presented at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood in June.

Directed by Brian Purcell, the production will play the California venue June 18-29. The starry cast will boast Beauty and the Beast's Susan Egan as Mrs. Walker, Haylie Duff (Hairspray, "Napoleon Dynamite," "7th Heaven") as Sally Simpson and famed singer Nona Hendrix ("The L-Word") as the Acid Queen. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

  The creative team will also include musical director Dan Redfeld and choreographer Denise Leitner.

  Director Purcell, according to press notes, "has come up with a radical new theatrical treatment for Tommy, one of the seminal works of the rock era. The concept is to create a new and visceral aural environment, designed especially for the Ricardo Montalbán theatre."

  In a statement Purcell said, "We envision a Tommy that takes place inside of Tommy's own head and to track his experience of his story. This gives us an entirely new canvas to present this work, which has meant so much to the three generations that have come up since the album's original release.

  "Tommy was inspired by and written to convey the experience of how Townsend felt after being taught by Meher Baba, a Persian man born in India who became a spiritual master and teacher and anti-drug advocate, and other writings and expressing the enlightenment he believes he received. It is a metaphorical story of different states of consciousness. I want to return the work to this base – and to strip down this work and return it back to the sensibility and the message of the original album from 1969 – raising awareness of the spirit."

  The Who's Tommy, which was based on the concept album "Tommy" by the British rock group The Who — about an alienated, abused child who, despite having lost his sight, speech and hearing at an early age, becomes a pinball wizard and youth culture icon — was adapted by the Who's Pete Townshend and director Des McAnuff into a stage musical. It ran for more than two years on Broadway and won Tonys for McAnuff's direction and Townshend's score, in a tie with Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman.

 The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre is located at 1615 Vine Street in Hollywood, CA. Tickets, priced $50 and $75, are available by calling (323) 230-9819 or by visiting For more information go to


-Brian in Atlanta

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