Pete Townshend performed at a special fundraising event: The Who’s Tommy: A Staged Concert Benefiting La Jolla Playhouse that took place on May 14 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla.
Pete joined the cast for a couple of numbers, which featured several original Playhouse and Broadway company members. He performed acoustic guitar on Pinball Wizard with Des McAnuff, the La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus who directed the original Broadway musical. Pete came out again and played acoustic guitar and sang with the full cast for the See Me, Feel Me finale of We’re Not Gonna Take It. Pete had an issue with his guitar on the finale, so he stopped playing and just sang along. In a comment on Instagram Pete said “Turned out they played the finale in C. I know it in A. Ha ha.”
This exclusive staged concert performance of the Tony Award-winning musical was helmed by Des McAnuff and featured Michael Cerveris as “Tommy,” Jonathan Dokuchitz as “Captain Walker,” Cheryl Freeman as “Gypsy Queen,” Christian Hoff as “2nd Pinball Lad,” Paul Kandel as “Uncle Ernie,” Donnie Kehr as “1st Pinball Lad,” Michael McElroy as “The Hawker/The Specialist,” Lee Morgan as “Harmonica Player/The Lover” and Alice Ripley as “Mrs. Walker.”
For more information about the charity event, please visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
The Who’s Tommy had it’s World Premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1992 before it's Broadway debut at the St James Theatre in 1993. It won 5 Tony Awards including Pete Townshend's Tony for Best Original Score, 5 Drama Desk Awards, and a Grammy Award.
It was just announced this week that The Who’s Tommy will be returning to Broadway in 2021! Des McAnuff will direct the revival, which will be produced by Hal Luftig and Patrick Catullo.
Des McAnuff said in a statement, "Our new production of Tommy will be a reinvention aimed directly at today, 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. Tommy is the antihero ground zero. He is the boy who not only rejects adulthood like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, but existence itself. He becomes lost in the universe as he stares endlessly and obsessively into the mirror at his own image. This gives our story a powerful resonance today as it seems like the whole world is staring into the black mirror. The story of Tommy exists all too comfortably in the 21st century. In fact, time may finally have caught up to Tommy Walker."
You can sign up for more information on the Tommy Broadway revival when it comes out at tommythemusical.com.
Here are a couple of photos from the La Jolla Playhouse’s benefit concert of The Who’s Tommy.
Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff at La Jolla Playhouse’s benefit concert performance of The Who’s Tommy. photo by Doug Gifford.
Pete joins finale at La Jolla Playhouse’s benefit concert performance of The Who’s Tommy. photo by Doug Gifford.