Features Reviews

‘The Who’s Tommy’ is loud, ground-breaking and raw

“The Who’s Tommy” was performed at the Musco Center for the Arts Feb. 23 – 25. Photo courtesy of Dale Dudeck

“The Who’s Tommy” dazzled with bright lights and projections on the stage.

Defined by director Oanh Nguyen as an “epic piece of theater,” this rock opera had a narrative that was slow and at times, hard to follow. Despite this, the performance and choice of direction was high energy and visually stimulating.

Although commonly overpowering other elements of the show, the lighting and sound design in “The Who’s Tommy” was chosen with intent to provide depth with their specifications of time and location.

The cast and crew transformed the Musco Center for the Arts into both a rock concert and your childhood living room, providing gripping contrast that draws you in to the heartbreaking and complex themes of mental disconnection, abuse and war.

The cast’s talent didn’t fall short of the technical elements either. The title role of Tommy – a raw, beaten-down young adult – was played by freshman screen acting major Jack Levis. This was Levis’ first musical at Chapman, yet he exuded confidence and had the ability to own the stage by himself.

An outstanding element of “The Who’s Tommy” was the consistent and highly-demanding energy permeating from the members of the cast – especially from Levis, as well as theatre performance major Sarah Pierce, who powerfully and emotionally played the role of Tommy’s mother.

Since “The Who’s Tommy” is a groundbreaking, heavy and loud show, every factor required full effort.

In set, costume design, direction, choreography and talent, there was consistency and power that reached the audience.

Despite the complicated narrative in the first act, the second act brings each plot point to fruition. Be prepared to think, as focus is required to understand the scenes filled with pantomime and crucial plot points that are sandwiched between fast-paced lyrics.

Leave a Comment