The Who’s ‘Tommy’ Musical Returning to Broadway

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Artwork for the original 1993 production of Tommy

The Who’s Tommy musical will return to Broadway in 2021, with Des McAnuff, who earned a Tony Award for the original 1993 production, again directing. The new production was announced on Monday (Oct. 21) by its producers, Hal Luftig and Patrick Catullo.

The 1993 musical, based on The Who’s 1969 rock opera – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary – featured music and lyrics by Pete 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.

“Our new production of Tommy will be a reinvention aimed directly at today,” said McAnuff. “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.”

What that “reinvention” will be remains to be seen. In March 2017, Best Classic Bands reported that Townshend had written a new song, “Acid Queen 2,” for a stage production of Tommy.

Luftig said: “In every producer’s career a show comes along that feels like a perfect fit. To have Pete and Des look at Tommy again is extremely exciting and feels just right. I’m thrilled to bring Tommy back home to Broadway where it belongs!”

On Oct. 14, Townshend made an onstage 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.

A website for the musical has been created, though there are no details yet on the production.

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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