It’s been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, named one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time, earned five Tony Awards, and has been performed on stages as varied as Woodstock, the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway’s St. James Theatre. Now the record that popularized the “rock opera” genre explodes to life in one of Cincinnati’s premier live music venues.
Memorial Hall proudly presents The Who’s TOMMY, playing September 14, 15, 20 and 21, 2018 in the beautifully restored Anderson Theater. Broadway veteran Leslie Goddard directs and choreographs a sprawling concert staging, featuring an all-star live band, psychedelic projections, a 24-voice choir and twelve professional singer / dancers from around Cincinnati and across the country. Tickets, on sale now, are $28 – $42 and are available at MemorialHallOTR.com, or by calling the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513.977.8838 (Tu – Fr, 1pm – 6pm).
THE Who’S TOMMY is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com.
That Deaf, Dumb and Blind Kid: A Synopsis
After witnessing the accidental murder of his mother’s lover by his father, Tommy is traumatized into catatonia and, as the boy grows, he suffers abuse at the hands of his sadistic relatives and neighbors. As an adolescent, he’s discovered to have an uncanny knack for playing pinball and, when his mother finally breaks through his catatonia, he becomes an international pinball superstar.
Featuring The Who classics “Pinball Wizard,” “Listening To You” and “I’m Free,” The Who’s TOMMY is an exhilarating tale of hope, healing and the human spirit. The story of the pinball-playing, deaf, dumb and blind boy who triumphs over his adversities has inspired, amazed and puzzled audiences for more than 40 years.
In a career that has included Broadway’s HAIRSPRAY and the Las Vegas staging of JERSEY BOYS, TOMMY director / choreographer Leslie Goddard has appeared in two productions of the rarely-mounted show, giving her unique insight into a piece that is ripe for directorial interpretation.
Goddard teams with stalwart music director and pianist Steve Goers. A faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and frequent presence at theatres including Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre and the Aronoff Center, Goers was a featured performer in the most recent local staging of TOMMY, a concert at the Covedale Center for the Arts in 2009. He leads a band featuring some of the Queen City’s finest talent; Brad Myers and Don Gauck interpret Pete Townshend’s iconic lead guitar, joined by Aaron Jacobs (bass) and Devon Leigh (drums), paying homage to the inexorable Keith Moon.
Goers will also have at his disposal the 24-voice Sycamore High School Select Ensemble, under the direction of Ken Holdt. The choir is no stranger to iconic rock-n-roll acts; they performed with Foreigner last summer in the band’s Riverbend concert.
Memorial Hall’s production of TOMMY features some of Greater Cincinnati’s finest homegrown talent, who return home for the production amid successful national and international careers. Playing the show’s title role is Dayton native and Northern Kentucky University alum Noah Berry. Berry has spent the better part of the past two years on the road with BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY, and will be joining the national tour of SPAMALOT this fall. In the role of Captain Walker is Cincinnati native Zack Steele, whose globetrotting career has included cross-country crossovers RING OF FIRE, HANK WILLIAMS: LOST HIGHWAY and ALL SHOOK UP, as well as lengthy engagements as a featured performer on international cruise lines. CCM faculty member Katie Johannigman is thrilled to return to the stage as TOMMY’s dance captain, on the heels of a musical theatre intensive in China and choreography of Bernstein’s MASS with May Festival and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
A complete cast, band and production team list can be found following this release.
Memorial Hall’s concert staging of TOMMY will not be without visual spectacle. The show will utilize projections from the original Broadway production as designed by Wendall K. Harrington. Recipient of Drama Desk Award, American Theater Wing Award and the Outer Circle Critics Award as part of the Tony Award-winning production, Harrington’s video work will be integrated into a thrilling lighting & scenic design by CCM professor Mark Williams.
Tommy: Concept Album, Live Sensation, Movie and Broadway Musical
Originally released in 1969, TOMMY was The Who’s fourth studio album, and is considered the first “rock opera.” The double album reached #2 and #4 on the UK and USA charts, respectively, and received celebrated live performances at Woodstock, Fillmore East and the Metropolitan Opera. Subsequent concerts have featured the likes of Phil Collins, Bette Midler, Patti LaBelle, Steve Winwood, Elton John, Billy Idol, Richie Havens, Ringo Starr, Richard Harris and Peter Sellers.
A 1975 film adaptation cast Townshend alongside Ann-Margret, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and Jack Nicholson. In 1991, Tommy was developed into a stage musical at La Jolla Playhouse. The production transferred to Broadway in 1993, where it enjoyed a two-year run and earned five Tony Awards.
TOMMY has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, is one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time, and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 1998.
Tickets to The Who’s TOMMY are on sale now at MemorialHallOTR.com. Tickets are available by phone via the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513.977.8838 (Tu – Fr, 1pm – 6pm).
Ticket scaling is as follows:
Boxes – $42 (includes concierge beverage service) Orchestra – $35
Center Balcony – $32
Side and Rear Balcony – $28
Students, Groups of 8 or More – $24 (call the box office for reservations)