Pete Townshend Performs With the Broadway Cast of The Who’s ‘Tommy’ Musical

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Pete Townshend on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, March 26, 2024 (Screen grab)

With The Who’s Tommy musical returning to Broadway, Pete Townshend joined the cast of the new production last night (March 26, 2024) on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to perform a medley of songs from the show. (Watch his interview and the performance below.) The Broadway return, with Des McAnuff—who earned a Tony Award for the original 1993 production—again directing, follows an eight-week, sold-out Chicago run. The new production at the Nederlander Theatre, was announced on October 26. Opening night is March 28. Tickets are available through Nov. 24 here. (A 2019 announcement had originally called for it to return in 2021 but it was ultimately delayed for years, due to the pandemic.)

The 1993 musical, based on The Who’s 1969 rock opera featured music and lyrics by Townshend, and a book by Townshend and McAnuff. It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, winning five. McAnuff won for Best Direction of a Musical; Townshend earned Best Original Score.

Watch Townshend’s interview with Fallon on March 26

“Our new production of Tommy will be a reinvention aimed directly at today,” said McAnuff in the original 2019 announcement. “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.”

The out-of-town “tryout” played in Chicago over the summer to rave reviews. The Chicago Sun-Times called it “a dazzling, pulsing roller coaster of a show that overwhelms the senses.” The Chicago Tribute wrote, “Extraordinary! A truly ready-for-prime-time stunner!” The entire creative team will continue with the Broadway production.

Watch Pete Townshend and the Tommy Broadway cast perform a medley on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on March 26

Townshend spoke to the audience following a performance in Chicago.

The 2024 Broadway cast features Ali Louis Bourzgui as Tommy and Alison Luff as Mrs. Walker, both of whom are reprising their roles from the Chicago production; Adam Jacobs as Captain Walker; John Ambrosino as Uncle Ernie and Bobby Conte as Cousin Kevin, both of whom also reprise their roles from the Chicago production; and Christina Sajous as the Acid Queen.

On Oct. 14, 2019, Townshend made an on stage appearance at La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, Calif., in a one-night-only staged concert of the musical. The Tommy musical made its world premiere at the Playhouse in 1992. The special event also featured performances by members of the original Broadway cast.

Listen to the “Overture” from the original Broadway production

A 1975 Tommy feature film, directed by Ken Russell, starred Roger Daltrey in the title role and included appearances from Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. The film also cast Ann-Margret as Mrs. Walker, Elton John as the Pinball Wizard, Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, and Jack Nicholson, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton and Arthur Brown in supporting roles.

Related: The Who revisited Tommy in a 2017 performance in London

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