Thursday, February 28, 2019

#TBT: Playbill: The Who's Tommy: July 1993

Looking back on it, The Who's Tommy was pretty advanced thinking for Broadway in the early 90's, and not just because it had three actors playing the main character. A true rock opera that hadn't really been seen since Jesus Christ Superstar or Hair some 20+ years earlier. It was loud, in your face rock though Who purists may have taken exception to changes made and a fuller orchestrated sound. Still, it is certainly Pete Townshend's masterpiece. It may have softened it all a tad, but it certainly was not "Broadway-fied." Then there was the state of the art use of projections and seamless direction and choreography by Des McAnuff and Wayne Cilento, respectively. It was visually stunning, beautifully sung and acted, and the music, which left my ears ringing for hours after, was amazing.

The Who's Tommy
St. James Theatre
27 previews, 899 performances
July 1993 Company: Michael Cerveris, Marcia Mitzman, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Anthony Barrile, Paul Kandel, Cheryl Freeman, Sherie Scott, Christian Hoff, Norm Lewis, Alice Ripley, Michael McElroy
Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff. Music and lyrics by Pete Townshend. Additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Choreography by Wayne Cilento. Direction by Des McAnuff

July 1993
 (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)

Look who I got to see!

Look at the future Tony winners, Michael, Alice and Christian. 
And how about future Tony nominees Norm and Sherie - before the Renee?

A decent array of shows - Millennium Approaches before Perestroika was even a thing... the last days of Falsettos (for another 23 years, at least). The Big 3 (Les Miz, Miss Saigon, Phantom) are still going strong, while traditional musicals seem to be making a comeback - Crazy For You, The Will Rogers Follies, the best revival ever of Guys and Dolls. And darker musicals also prove popular - Jelly's Last Jam, Blood Brothers, Kiss of the Spider Woman. And the star power! Harry Groener, Jodi Benson, Bill Irwin, Brian (pre-Stokes) Mitchell, Ben Vereen, Phylicia Rashad, Chita Rivera, Brent Carver, Anthony Cravello, Larry Gatlin, Martin Short, Lynn Redgrave and Bernadette Peters!

The Pinball Wizard and his machine (the ultimate merch find)!


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