The newly reimagined production of The Who's Tommy, which had a sold-out run at Chicago's Goodman Theatre this past summer, has announced a spring 2024 Broadway bow. The rock musical will open March 28, 2024 at the Nederlander Theatre, with previews to begin March 8. Check out the teaser trailer above.
The Who's Tommy originally opened on Broadway in 1993, with a book by Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend of The Who, music and lyrics by Townshend, and direction by McAnuff. The pair have reunited to reimagine the story, and McAnuff will return as director for the new production.
Casting will be announced at a later date.
Based on The Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy, the musical follows the young Tommy Walker. After witnessing his father shoot his rival, Walker is emotionally lost, and spends his time staring endlessly staring into the mirror. Then an innate knack for pinball catapults him into celebrity status.
“In many ways, I think the world has caught up to Tommy Walker, which makes it exciting to revisit The Who’s Tommy for a new generation who, possibly more than any other, has a broad appetite for all kinds of music and storytelling,” McAnuff said in a statement.
The creative team includes choreographer Lorin Latarro (Into the Woods), music supervisor Ron Melrose (Jersey Boys), musical director Rick Fox (Rent), set designer David Korins (Hamilton), projection designer Peter Nigrini (Here Lies Love), costume designer Sarafina Bush (for colored girls...), lighting designer Amanda Zieve (Escape to Margaritaville), sound designer Gareth Owen (Back to the Future), and wig and hair designer by Charles LaPointe (Hamilton). The production also features additional music arrangements by Melrose, and additional orchestrations by Fox. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting's Merri Sugarman with additional Chicago casting by Lauren Port and Rachael Jimenez. Tripp Phillips is the production stage manager and Bespoke Theatricals is general manager.
"I can’t wait to see how this newly empowered show connects with younger Broadway audiences today," Townshend said in a statement. "I hope the younger ones come, for they will identify in an entirely new and important way with Tommy’s tumultuous life. Meanwhile, longtime fans of Tommy, The Who, and all their music will be blown away by this new show."
The original Broadway production of The Who's Tommy opened April 22, 1993 at the St. James Theatre, after beginning previews March 29. McAnuff had first staged the work in 1992 at California's La Jolla Playhouse, where he was artistic director, before the production moved to Broadway the following year.
The Broadway cast was led by Michael Cerveris, Marcia Mitzman, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Paul Kandel, and Cheryl Freeman. The original ensemble featured several Broadway favorites, including Alice Ripley, Norm Lewis, and Sherie Rene Scott.
The production received five Tony Awards: Best Direction for McAnuff, Best Choreography for Wayne Cilento, Best Original Score for Pete Townshend, Best Scenic Design for John Arnone, and Best Lighting Design for Chris Parry. The musical closed June 17, 1995, after 27 previews and 899 regular performances.
The reimagined production played Chicago's Goodman Theatre in summer 2023, 30 years after its original Broadway bow. McAnuff directed at the Goodman, as well.
The Chicago cast was led by Ali Louis Bourzgui (The Band's Visit) as Tommy Walker, Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) as Captain Walker, and Alison Luff (Waitress) as Mrs. Walker, along with John Ambrosino (Les Misérables) as Uncle Ernie, Bobby Conte (Company) as Cousin Kevin, and Christina Sajous (SpongeBob SquarePants) as the Acid Queen (a role credited as "The Gypsy" in earlier iterations of the musical).
McAnuff has been eyeing a return for The Who's Tommy since at least 2019, when a Broadway revival was announced to hit the stage in 2021. Those plans never materialized due to the pandemic.
This was not the first attempt to adapt Tommy for the stage. An early stage adaptation of Tommy premiered in 1971 in Seattle featuring Bette Midler as both the Acid Queen and Mrs. Walker. A screen version followed in 1975.