‘Tommy’ dark but positive
Most of the students in Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp’s production of The Who’s “Tommy” are playing the parts of between three and six characters.
“It’s the biggest production we’ve ever done here,” director Jason Little said. “There are 140 costumes, which is the size of a Broadway production.”
“Some students have three costume changes during the course of one number,” added music director Mark Fifer. “They have to layer their costumes and just peel them off.”
The show is considered a rock opera and was written by Pete Townshend of The Who.
¤ The Who’s “Tommy”¤ 8 p.m. today and Saturday¤ Julie Harris Theatre, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp¤ $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 10 and younger. The show is sold out. Call ahead to be put on the waitlist.¤ 879-7125
The story follows the character Tommy through 30 years of his life. He becomes deaf, dumb and blind after he witnesses his father kill his mother’s lover.
“A series of abusive episodes from his relatives follow until Tommy is finally freed of his handicaps and becomes a pinball wizard and then a rock star,” Fifer said. “It’s a very dark story with a lot of hope and deliverance at the end, which is satisfying and moving.”
Many of the events in the show parallel Townshend’s life, including that his uncle abused him.
“He realizes what it feels like to be trapped behind being unable to connect with humanity. Pete Townshend has a very deep soul and had all this anarchy in his life and was not able to communicate with his parents and his peers,” Little said. “He then realized that that’s all there is — the ability to connect. That is the beautiful message of the show.”
Little chose to do “Tommy” without knowing any of the cast members.
“But our cast would not be better if we choose the show for the cast,” Little said. “We turned traditional musical theater sensibility into rock sensibility.”
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A smile dances across Amy Satkiewicz’s face as she talks about the adventures, life and love she shared with her late husband, Mark.