October 29, 2020

1997-02-13 – Battle Creek Enquirer

1997 02 13 Battle_Creek_Enquirer_Thu__Feb_13__1997_

THURSDAY, FEB. 13, 1997

COVER STORY

BATTLE CREEK ENQUIRER . 3'

‘Tommy’ slated Saturday for BC.-

TOMMY, from Page 1

life in a succession of songs and instru-
mentals that tell of a boy struck deaf,
dumb and blind after witnessing a mur-
der. 'It follows him through his extraordi-
nary journey back to recovery and his
eventual worship by legions of people
who think he is a sage.

The stage version of Tommy premiered
at the LaJolla Playhouse in summer 1992,
breaking all theater attendance records
and playing to standing—room—only audi-
ences. Critics also praised the show after
it hit Broadway.

The New York Times hailed it as “the
real rock musical Broadway has so long
pined for,” while USA Today wrote,
“Tommy stimulates senses you didn’t
know you had.” The New Ybrk Post
summed it up as “Brilliant, bloody bril—
liant.” '

Its now classic songs, including Pinball
Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; The Acid Queen;
and We’re Not Gonna Take It have forever
been burned into the pages of rock music
history. The show also includes new ma-
terial by Pete Townshend, The Who’s
flamboyant guitarist and main songwriter.

The company will arrive with three
semi trucks and two buses carrying a 21-
person crew, 21 cast members and 1,000
costumes.

Multimedia staging will take the audi-
ence to a pinball arcade, inside a pinball
machine and even inside Tommy’s mind.
The guitar—laden Townshend score will be
performed by a live rock band.

0" STAGE

WHAT: Tommy. . .

WHEN: 8:30 pm. Saturday and 8 pm.
Suthrduy, Feb. 22.

WERE: Saturday — WK. Kellogg
Mitotium; Feb. '22— Mendel (enter,

_ Benton Harbot.

TICKETS: S30 and $25 (Battle Creek); $28
(Benton Harbor). Available through ’
litketmoster.

For Decauwert, playing Mrs. Walker,
Tommy’s mother, is actually a dream
come true. She saw the Broadway show
four years ago. She immediately bought
the album and learned the songs.

“When I saw it, I wanted to do it right
away,” Decauwert said by phone Tuesday
from her hotel in Whitewater, Wis. “And
three years later, I got to do it” '

But it didn’t come easily. Decauwert
said it took almost a year and several au-
ditions to get a major part in the show.

People who have seen the famous mid-
’705 film version of Tommy, with its all—star
cast of Margaret, Elton John and Tina
Turner, can expect a lot of changes on
stage.

That’s because the film’s director, Ken
Russell, took a lot of liberties with the
story, said Decauwert and fellow cast

' member Dan Ferretti

In helping to write the script for ”the
stage show, Townshend and Tony Award-

winning director Des McAnuff tn'ed to
keep it closer to the original concept.

The result; a story that is much easier ‘7

for the audience to follow and a hero peo-
ple can identify with.

“I think they found a happy median be
tween what the author wanted and what
would sell on Broadway, then took that a

step further,” Decauwert said. "They very '
much made Tommy into more of a hu—

man being through this show.”
Ferretli‘agrees the story works better
on stage than in the film.

“Each scene in the movie was its own
little trip,” he said. “Ken Russell took a lot
of liberty and stretched the boundaries
and such because he knew that he could.
This stage version really tries to make
sense of the story”

Ferretti, a Chicago—based actor and
singer, relishes his role as the evil Cousin
Kevin, who brutalizes Tommy only to ride
his coattails as manager and body guard.

“Most of the people in Tommy’s life are
despicable,” he said. “That’s why people
are always rooting for Tommy. It’s a great
role and a lot of fun because there’s so
much going on there. It’s kind of fun to be
the bad boy."

Decauwert said she has learned a lot
about herself through playing Mrs. Walk-

er. She never knew she had a maternal in— >-

stinct Now she wants to have children.
“She’s made me see because I have to
look at the show through her eyes,” she

ally like her. She’s pretty neat"

Theatrical’s production of Tommy.

FORTHEENQUIRER
said. “She’s not too far away from me. I re- Dan Ferretfi plays evil Cousin Kevin in Big League