4 June 2015
New Generation of Rockers Meet Tommy
When English rock band The Who released their double concept album Tommy in 1969 it met with critical acclaim. Mostly composed by the band’s guitarist Pete Townshend, Tommy was later rewritten as a rock musical, and a film. Ken Russell’s film version of Tommy captured the attention of Brisbane teenager Anthony Young in the 1980s.
Now Young wants to bring the show to a different audience and is directing Mosman Musical Society’s The Who’s Tommy.
Rehearsals kicked off three months ago, with the cast, and the band rehearsing separately. In the final weeks of production the cast and band will begin to rehearse together, a new phase that Young said should be exciting.
“Tommy had a theatrical start,” Young explained. “The Who did a concert tour and performed the whole double album.”
Young said his version of Tommy would be “concert-like” with a seven-piece rock band.
“It’s different from your traditional musical. It’s quite energetic. I’ve done it as it was scripted, not interpreting."
“Our staging is very minimalistic. We’ve stripped the stage, used lighting towers, and slide projections to display the scene changes and the years.”
On the face of it, Tommy’s story is a tragic one about a young man who’s survived childhood abuse and has been disabled by it. But the ultimate story, Young maintains, is that Tommy triumphs and later reunites with his family. The adult Tommy is played by Tim Garnham, with Charlie Jackson, 7, and Oliver Barbarich, 11, playing Tommy when he was a child.
“The Tommys are pretty amazing,” Young said.
Young said he thought the rock musical genre would appeal to different demographics.
“There will be the friends and family of the cast members, The Who fans, and people who go to see musical theatre who want to see it because they don’t often get the opportunity to see Tommy, the rock musical. It’s not done in Australia very often.”
The Who's Tommy
Season Starting: Friday June 19 (click on "Upcoming Events" for exact times.)
Address: Railway Street & McIntosh Street, Chatswood NSW 2067, Australia
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