The Who’s ‘Tommy’ still lives, as it’s set to hit the Broadway stage… for the second time around
One double album, two opera adaptations, one movie, and now two theatre adaptations later
Pete Townshendnever said whether he expected Tommy (often considered to be one of the most important rock operas around) to still be with us some 50 years after it was first unveiled to the public in 1969. But as Rolling Stone reports, it is set to hit the Broadway stage in 2021… for the second time around.
After the story of a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who turned into a pinball wizard, became one of the best-selling double albums ever, it was the Seattle Opera that came up with its live version in 1971 which was then followed up by the version produced by the London Symphony orchestra.
Renowned director Ken Russell took a stab at it and turned it into a no less successful film in 1975, starring such names as Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Elton John, Tina Turner, and Eric Clapton.
Tommy’s first stage adaptation came in 1992 at New York’s La Jolla Playhouse, and after a successful year in 1993 it came to Broadway, had 889 performances, and as Rolling Stone reminds, “racked up five Tony Awards and proved that rock can work on the Broadway stage, paving the way for countless shows that followed.”
Now, the original stage director, Des McAnuff, will bring it back to the Broadway stage sometime in 2021, but the official site has yet to announce more precise dates.
McAnuff came with a statement, saying that the new production of Tommy, “will be a reinvention aimed directly at today. Tommy is the antihero ground zero. He is the boy who not only rejects adulthood like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, but existence itself. He becomes lost in the universe as he stares endlessly and obsessively into the mirror at his own image. This gives our story a powerful resonance today as it seems like the whole world is staring into the black mirror. The story of Tommy exists all too comfortably in the 21st century. In fact, time may finally have caught up to Tommy Walker.”