October 31, 2020

2011-02-12 – The Los Angeles Times

2011 02 12 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Sat__Feb_12__2011_

THEATER REVIEW

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.

CHARLOTTE STOUDT

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
Tommy’

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
www.SCFTAorg

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
openingnight.)

“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
them.

calendar@1atimes.com