A brand new musical production of The Who’s Tommy will hit Chicago’s Goodman Theatre this month. Performances will run June 13 through July 30, 2023.
The show marks the 30th anniversary of the 1993 Tony Award winning Broadway musical of Tommy. Des McAnuff, the director and co-writer of the original production with Pete Townshend, has returned to bring us a modern rendition of the story.
The Tommy revival was first announced back in 2019, and plans to return to Broadway in 2021 were unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic.
In a 2019 statement, Des McAnuff said, "Our new production of Tommy will be a reinvention aimed directly at today, Tommy combines myth and spectacle in a way that truly soars. The key question with any musical is, 'Does the story sing?' and this one most certainly does. Tommy is the antihero ground zero. He is the boy who not only rejects adulthood like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, but existence itself. He becomes lost in the universe as he stares endlessly and obsessively into the mirror at his own image. This gives our story a powerful resonance today as it seems like the whole world is staring into the black mirror. The story of Tommy exists all too comfortably in the 21st century. In fact, time may finally have caught up to Tommy Walker."
In a recent video interview to promote the show, Pete Townshend said, “When I wrote Tommy, nobody had ever written about trauma, nobody talked about bullying, and that all these things were brought onto an album were fine. It was a rock group, it’s The Who, if you get in our way we smash a guitar over your head – goodbye, that’s it. It’s much more difficult in the framework of a carefully presented theatre piece. We had to kind of start to write our own rules. We did that, we broke all the established rules, and now the current generation, they’re breaking all those rules again. What Des is suggesting is that we honour that, and we start our story instead of in this post war period, we turn everything on it’s head. I think it’s going to work, I think it’s going to be great, and I can’t wait to see what he does with it. And I’m excited for Chicago. This has always been a really, really special place for me. And I can’t wait to see how this show jacks in to where Chicago is today.”
The new production of The Who’s Tommy features a cast of 28 actors who will be accompanied by a 9-piece band.
For more information and to purchase tickets to The Who’s Tommy, please visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Tommy