Review “The Who’s TOMMY” (Goodman Theatre): Goodman.Rocks.This.Hard!

Saturday, July 1, 2023 Permalink 0

Goodman Theatre presents The Who’s TOMMY the Musical. 

TOMMY and Des are back! Thirty years after its Tony Award-winning original production,  Des McAnuff (director and co-libretto) returns to reimagine The Who’s TOMMY. In the early 90s, Pete Townshend (music, lyrics, co-libretto) and McAnuff collaborated using existing music for the story and co-creating the book. Now, TOMMY arrives back on stage as a visual and visceral spectacle. Goodman.Rocks.This.Out.Hard!

Tommy had a disturbing childhood. At four (played by Ava Rose Doty/Presley Rose Jones), he witnesses a violent death. At ten (played by Annabel Finch/Ezekiel Ruiz), he is abused by multiple aggressors. The experiences force him into a catatonic silence.    Tommy (played as a grown-up by Ali Louis Bourzgui), at all ages, is transfixed by looking at himself past, present and future in an oversized mirror while singing the haunting See Me, Feel Me. These ongoing mirror reflections are beautifully evocative. The bottomless melancholy is gut-punching. It’s from this hopeless imprisonment, a resilient Tommy escapes to become the pinball wizard.  

McAnuff masterfully directs a commanding Bourzgui and superb ensemble in the musical storytelling. His quick pacing adds to the effortlessly engagement. Under the music direction of Rick Fox, the familiar tunes of I’m Free, We’re Not Going to Take It and Pinball Wizard have audience members bopping in their seats and fist bumping the air. Choreographer Lorin Latarro matches the intoxicating nostalgia with imaginative movement to support the tale. And McAnuff’s design team (set-David Korins, lighting-Amanda Zieve, production design-Peter Nigrini) crush the contemporary production makeover with high-tech flash.   

TOMMY is in demand! Goodman has already extended it twice. Get a ticket to see it in our hometown or wait until it goes to Broadway. Either in Chicago or New York, you’re going to fall for the dynamic TOMMY!    

Running Time: Two hours and fifteen minutes includes an intermission

At the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn

Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff

Music and lyrics by Pete Townshend

Additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon 

Directed by Des McAnuff

Choreography by Lorin Latarro 

Music supervision and additional arrangements by Ron Melrose 

Music direction and additional orchestrations by Rick Fox

Performances are:

Wednesdays, Thursdays at 7:30pm   

Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm

Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

EXTENDED Thru August 6th 

For more information or tickets

Production photos by Liz Lauren 

For more Chicago theatre information and reviews, please visit Theatre in Chicago

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