October 21, 2020

1971-05-07 – The Los Angeles Times

1971 05 07 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Fri__May_7__1971_

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STAGE REVIEW

USC P1oduct1011' of 6Tommy

BY DAN SULLIVAN
Times Theater 61111:

Theater pe ople hate
been wo11de1ing wha t
11 ould happen to the 1ock
musical after "Haii. " So
f ar nothing Significant
11as.- But now we have
"Tommy.“

USC’s production of this
fascinating whatzit
(opera? 01at01io.’ song
cy ole?) started a short he-
nus 11111 at the Beveily
Hills High School Auditm-
111111 011 Wednesday night
and I went over to see
1111111. an over-30 with 110
special allegiance to lock
11 011111 make of it as a thea-
ter expeiience.

Not so much, obviously,
as some of the kids in the
audience, who stood up
and cheered when it was
over. Not only had they
heard their music (a rough
but. decent live translation
of The Who's album by
Buzz Holmes‘ hand and
sin ge1s), they had seen
themselves in Tommys
story.

Outside World

Wheat 1-1 doesn‘t feel a
little like a man trapped in
a mi1ro1ed isolation booth
111mg to get through to
the outside W 01111 y et half-
hoping 110 one 11111 come,

sick of self but feat mg to
e11t1ust it to others—it
might dissolve? ‘

‘TOMMY'

A rock 0 (a W Peter Townshend'

and The W 0. presented at the Bev-
erlv Hills High School 111! Joel Rosan-
zwclg. Director Rosenzweig. Charcoa-
raphv Sal Frapanl. Muslc director
Buzz Holmes. Orchestratlons Rick
Johnston. Clnematoeraphv Hank We 11-
ster. Set Garvin Eddy Lighting
Robert Goodeooian With Jane aner.
Robert Jam. Wendv D. Weber. Ml-
chaei Cantor. Alan Nu
m Golan. Nancv Pierandoui. James“
Stewart Scott. Sal Fro 111. Ron SII-
vcr. Cherri Lavagnlno. ed Beeps, Eu-
gene Slater and chorus.

M

That is one of the things
that "Tommy" is about;
also the sweetness of liber-

ation: also the fact that.
stepping out of the box is
indeed risky. None of this
baldly put, but easily felt a
bizaue stety of an idiot-
. ea vant pinball- -playing
champ who becomes a
Messiah and dies like one.

Gets Lost

You can't fully iespond
to "Tommy" ovei :1 cm tam

age, I think” its mixed-
npness and jaunty dis1e-

gard for surface cohe1e11ce

get 111 the way.A11d in

the theater an impmtant

aspect of The Who' 5 album

——its quiet Zen-like ap-
pioach to this weird sto1y

—gets lost

it especially eets lost
when, as in the USC pro-
(luction it is played with a
1 ocabulary of gestute that
suggests 0.13. De Miile
staging "Samson and Deli-
Iah" at a summer camp.

Yet eventually "Tommy“

Hupma Rot»,-

. struct a story between mu-

the hand can work a con-
nect-the-dots puzzle.

Rock opera? Yes: some-
thing very like that after
ali. And a most important
landmark in the develop-
ment of a popular Ameri-
can musical theater. You

can see it through Satur-
day night,

works-- even .for a 19505-
type. touch'e's the heart.
and sets an exciting train
of thought going abdut
what the next step will be.

"Ha1r"- drastically
ehanged our ideas about
the need for a libretto in
musical theater. "Tommy"
shows us that we can do
without; one completely—
that ‘the'1hind can con-

Spirituals' Salute

- National Negro Spiri-
tuals Memorial Week will
be saluted with a program
of music and dramatic
readings at 8 11.111. Satur-
day at Patriotic .Hall, Fi-

sical number‘s as easily as gueroa and ISth St.“

TO THOSE Will] MAY-Nm BELIEVE US
community standards

do not permit
pnntmg the tltles but

1' "Es E ARE TWO
01: 1115 MOST