Last night's thrilling presentation of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along in NYC wasn't the first original Broadway cast reunion concert, and it won't be the last. TheaterMania has learned that plans are afoot for a 10th anniversary concert of The Who's Tommy to be held at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in April 2003 as a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Though most details of the concert are yet to be worked out, the hope is that it will feature the entire original cast of the Broadway production of the seminal rock opera, which opened at the St. James Theater on April 22, 1993. The reunion event is intended to take place on the 10th anniversary date.
Directed by Des McAnuff and with choreography by Wayne Cilento, the Broadway Tommy starred Michael Cerveris in the title role, Marcia Mitzman as Mrs. Walker (Tommy's mother) and Jonathan Dokuchitz as Captain Walker (Tommy's father). Also featured were Paul Kandel as Uncle Ernie, Anthony Barrile as Cousin Kevin, Cheryl Freeman as The Gypsy (a.k.a. "The Acid Queen), Sherie René Scott (then Sherie Scott) as Sally Simpson, Norm Lewis as The Specialist, and Alice Ripley as The Specialist's Assistant, with such performers as Tracy Nicole Chapman, Romain Frugé, and Michael McElroy in the ensemble. Though some critics were disappointed by changes in the original score and story, the production was hailed for its performances, its arrangements and orchestrations of the classic score, and its highly imaginative staging and design.
With music and lyrics by Pete Townshend of The Who (and additional music and lyrics by his bandmates John Entwistle and Keith Moon), Tommy tells the tale of a young boy who loses his sight, hearing, and speech after witnessing a murder and them embarks on an Amazing Journey towards a cure and a feeling of self-worth. The opera first appeared as a double-LP record album in 1969. The Who went on to perform the piece often in concert and it served as the basis for a 1975 film starring the band's lead singer, Roger Daltrey, as Tommy, along with Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John, Tina Turner, Keith Moon, and Jack Nicholson.