Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The Who's Tommy
Also see Tracy's review of Contact
The latest offering from Washington, DC's Warner Theatre is The Who's Tommy. Based on the 1969 rock opera, Tommy follows the story of a young boy whose father went to war and is presumed dead. When his father reappears, he makes a disturbing discovery; in his absence, his wife has taken a lover. A fight ensues between the two men and the lover is killed. The shock of witnessing this brutality causes young Tommy to lose his ability to hear, speak, and see. Even though Tommy is missing his most vital senses, it is soon revealed that he is a talented pinball player. What follows is his parents' constant pursuit of a cure for their son, and Tommy's subsequent notoriety.
The music and lyrics by The Who's Pete Townshend are energetic. The songs, which include "Pinball Wizard" and "See Me, Feel Me," have been a part of pop culture for decades. The score does an admirable job of striving to advance the plotline. However, the book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff is at times muddled.
Ultimately, what really drives this production is its robust cast. Michael Seelbach in the title role of Tommy is a dynamic presence. He shares the spotlight with Daniel C. Levine, who shows off his powerful voice as the mischievous Cousin Kevin. A particular standout is Monique L. Midgette as Gypsy. Her memorable rendition of "The Acid Queen" brings the house down.
Director/Choreographer Tony Stevens is successful in drawing out the strengths of his cast. Mr. Stevens has also provided some fun choreography and manages to utilize Edward Pierce's set design to his advantage. Additionally, Bobby Pearce's costumes work well for the rock opera genre.
The Who's Tommy is made up of fresh, young, talent performing old favorites. Those familiar with the original production or the popular film may enjoy the sentimental aspect of this experience. But keep in mind, this show has a limited run. Performances will run from March 5th - 10th.
The Warner Theatre