The acclaimed Chicago stage production of The Who's Tommy directed by Des McAnuff is coming to Broadway in 2024. Previews for the reimagined production produced by Stephen Gabriel and Ira Pittelman will begin at the Nederlander Theatre on March 8, 2024 before an official opening night on March 28.
Pete Townsend — the Who cofounder who wrote the music, lyrics, and cowrote the book with McAnuff — says in a statement, “In 1969, when I originally wrote Tommy with The Who, nobody had ever written popular music songs about trauma, nobody talked about bullying, domestic sexual abuse was a subject that was virtually censored. Then, in 1993, working with Des on the staged theatre piece, we broke the established rules for a musical show. Now, the current generation is breaking all of those rules again – and what Des has achieved with this incredible new production honors them and their courage and audacity. I can’t wait to see how this newly empowered show connects with younger Broadway audiences today. I hope the younger ones come, for they will identify in an entirely new and important way with Tommy’s tumultuous life. Meanwhile, longtime fans of Tommy, the Who, and all their music will be blown away by this new show.”
The Who's Tommy Resonates with Younger Generations Who Have a Better Grasp of Mental Health Issues
The official synopsis for The Who's Tommy reads, “After witnessing his father shoot his rival, the young Tommy Walker is lost in the universe, endlessly and obsessively staring into the mirror. An innate knack for pinball catapults him from reticent adolescent to celebrity savior.” The Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy contains the songs “I’m Free,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “Sensation,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Amazing Journey,” “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?,” “The Acid Queen,” “I’m Free,” and “Twenty-One”/“What About the Boy?”
The Who's Tommy originally ran from 1993 to 1995 on Broadway. McAnuff, who directed that production, says in a statement, “In many ways, I think the world has caught up to Tommy Walker, which makes it exciting to revisit The Who’s Tommy for a new generation who, possibly more than any other, has a broad appetite for all kinds of music and storytelling.” McAnuff continues:
“While the music remains as glorious as ever, our world years later is unimaginably and irrevocably changed. As a result, there’s so much more we all can recognize – and celebrate – in our protagonist’s evolution, as a collective deeper understanding of mental health has sharpened our lens. Tommy Walker’s triumph over devastating childhood trauma, to enlightened leadership, to ultimately recognizing the folly in which he’s surrounded himself is an ‘Amazing Journey’ to discover anew.”
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.