October 31, 2020

2011-02-12 – The Los Angeles Times

2011 02 12 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Sat__Feb_12__2011_


See this ‘Tommy,’
and it Will touch you

Chance Theater’s
inspired production
based on of the
Who’s rock opera is
mind—blowing fun.


Never underestimate the
power of a little hairspray
and eyeliner. A teased-up,
smoky-eyed Chance Thea-
ter brings its high-decibel
production of “The Who’s
Tommy” to Orange County’s
big house, and the kids are
more than alright. Origi-
nally staged at the com—
pany’s Anaheim Hills space,
“Tommy” garnered such
raves last summer that the
Segerstrom Center for the
Arts invited Chance to re-
mount the show as part of its
Off Center Series. I didn’t
see the earlier staging, but
this latest incarnation has a
street-chic infectiousness
that’s more fun to watch
than bigger, more “pro-
duced” versions.

On a bare, two-tiered
stage, KC Wilkerson’s evoca-
tive Video projections take
us back to the London Blitz,
as Captain Walker (Kevin L.
Cordova) heads off to war,
leaving his young Wife (Wen-
di Ann Hammock) and their
little Tommy (played by
Cameron McIntyre at 4,
Seth Dusky at 10 and Mark
Bartlett as a teen). Of
course, Pete Townshend’s
1969 rock opera is really the
story of a psychic blitz: a boy
Who shuts down after endur-
ing adult Violence and
abuse. The deaf, dumb and
blind kid stands in for every
generation’s rebuke of its e1-
ders: a dropout gamer mes-
siah who suffers for his par-
ents’ sins.

Director Oanh Nguyen
brings awry, SoCal aesthetic
to the story, supported by
Kelly Todd’s choreography,
Erika C. Miller’s Vintage-
cool costumes and Julie Wil-
kins’ hair and makeup de-

True Image Studio

MUTE: Gypsy Queen (Clarissa Barton, center rear)
and her minions cast a spell on Tommy (Seth Dusky).

‘The Who’s

Where: Founders Hall,
Segerstrom Center for the

Arts, 600 Town Center
Drive, Costa Mesa

When: 7:30 pm. Thursday
and Friday, 2 pm. and 7:30
pm. Saturday, 1 pm. and

6:30 pm. Sunday. Ends
Feb 20.

Tickets: $35

Contact: (714) 556-2787 or

Running time: 2 hours

sign. The ensemble num-
bers, With their Mod-punk
styling and robotic dance
moves, recall such classic

’80s L.A. groups as X and
Missing Persons, with a
smattering of the B-52s. The
charismatic Bartlett, whose
Velvet Goldmine looks don’t
hurt, excels during the ec-
static pinball sequences, de-
spite some uneven vocals.
(Sound issues plagued

“Tommy” is ultimately
more sensory immersion
than drama, and even fo—
cused work from Cordova,
Walker and Bartlett can’t
hide the show’s built-in nar—
rative flaws. Still, Town-
shend’s exhilarating music
blows your mind.

And Chance Theater
makes you see them, feel
them and definitely hear