Z8 WEEKEND » APRIL 24, 2010
‘Tommy’ loses edge
in local production
By Michelle Hoffman
51151311111011 THE REPUBLIC
F rom Woodstock to community thea-
ter, it’s been a long, strange trip for “The
Who’s Tommy." which runs through May
2 at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre.
Funnv what happens when you don’t
die before you get old
Back when they were busy throwing
television sets out hotel windows and
driving sports cars into swimming pools,
The Who elevated their status from pill-
popping mod rockers t0 king—of—the-
world rock gods after releasing a concept
album titled “Tommy" back in 1969.
The album was deﬁned as a “rock op-
era" _ it told a story through :1 string of
ehurt—topping songs like "See Me, Feel
Me," “Pinball Wizard." “I‘m Free,”
“’1’0111my Can You Hear Me?"
The plot, hatched by lead guitarist Pete
Townshend (with the help of producer
Kit Lambert), tells the story ofa boy trau-
matized into catatonia after seeing his fa-
ther murder his mother’s lover. Unable to
seem he;11',T0mmy’s molested. He’s bul-
lied. His parents lapse into denial. Life’s a
Smnehow. he freakishly manages to
master a mean game of pinball. After se-
curing~ his reign as the Baily Table King.
Tummy regains all ofhis senses, inspiring
swunns 01 directinnless young people to
follow him around like a messiah. Of
course. ite11ds h:1dIy.A11dthat’sthepoint.
It's all very, very groovy and apt for the
times, :15 the turbulent 19605 morphed
into the impotent 1070s:
“Tnn11111'” went celluloid in 1975 when
director Ken Russell gave the characters
life, 11111111111: his ﬁlm with enough star
power to fuel :11] of NASA — ()liver Reed.
Erie (Ilapton, Tina Turner. Jack Nichol-
son. liltnn John and :1 hlinged-out Ann—
()utmgenusiy costumed, the actors 11t-
taeked the songs as if their lives de—
pended on it. the plot exploding in 21
psychedelic burst of rebellion After ail.
In 1992, his partyhardy days behind
him. Townshend reworked the stnry for
See WV Page 27
you might scratch your head at
1 . T
If, once upon a tune. you bought ommy
“Tommy" in a record store, ran
home, ripped off the cellophane
and played the double record over
and over while reading the liner
notes and studying the cover art.
this stage version.
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