Stamford’s Curtain Call springs into action with The Who’s ‘Tommy’
First it spun. Then, it rolled. Finally, it hit the boards.
Since The Who’s “Tommy” came out in 1969, it has drawn audiences in all its incarnations, including a best-selling album, a 1975 star-studded movie and a Tony award-winning musical in 1992.
“The Who is just one of those bands that have had great longevity and success, and that is part of it,” said Curtain Call executive director Lou Ursone, in explaining the popularity of the story itself. “And the Broadway musical was really successful. It took an album from the late 1960s and gave it new life and more elaborate story-telling.”
The Stamford theater company brings “The Who’s Tommy” to audiences beginning tonight at the Kweskin Theatre. Born out of a rock opera idea by Pete Townshend, the lead guitarist for the popular British band, it is the story of Tommy, who becomes catatonic after witnessing a devastating event as a child. As a teen, he demonstrates an astounding proficiency at pinball, eventually breaking through his pain to become an international superstar.
The musical score, a collaboration between Townshend and Des McAnuff, features the hits “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Touch Me” and “I’m Free.”
The 30-member cast, which has been rehearsing since November, fronts a set that features video projections and lighting effects that are more akin to a concert than a play. A recent upgrade to LED stage lights has given the theater a greater range for color. And, of course, there are also several pinball machines built by the set design crew.
“I’m thrilled to have this fabulous show as part of our season,” Ursone said in a release. “I saw the original Broadway production twice and was amazed at how well the album translated to the stage, so I’m really looking forward to letting area audiences enjoy the show as I did,” he said.
Curtain Call, Kweskin Theatre, 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford. Thursday, Feb. 2, 9 and 16, 8 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 3, 10, 17, and Saturday, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 5, noon, 2 p.m. $32-$16. May not be appropriate for younger audiences. 203-461-6358, curtaincallinc.com
This will be director Peter Green’s first production for Curtain Call.
“As a director, there are two ideas in ‘The Who’s Tommy’ that I find to be important,” Green said in the release. “The first is the idea that extreme circumstances — sickness, for example — can be the springboard to a wealth of perspective and extraordinary insight. For Tommy, the years of sensory deprivation give him the opportunity to experience the second important idea, that our connection to other people is what matters most.”