The Who's Tommy

Musical 'rock opera' with music and lyrics by Peter Townshend, based on the concept album 'The Who's Tommy', with additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon. SEE ME FEEL ME - The Who's story of a deaf, dumb and blind kid turned pinball wizard.

Original West End London Production 1979 with Allan Love, Peter Straker and Anna Nicholas

1st West End Revival 1996 with Paul Keating, Kim Wilde and Nicola Hughes

London Revival 2015 Ashley Birchall, Miranda Wilford and Carly Bums

London Revival 2017 with William Grint, Donna Mullings and Peter Straker

The first West End 'legit' theatrical production of Tommy took place in 1979 in a production devised by Paul Tomlinson and John Hole. The West End 'revival' in 1996 was devised for the stage by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff, and transferred to London following an award-winning run on New York's Broadway.

Original West End London Production 1979 at the Queen's Theatre

Previewed 29 January 1979, Opened 6 February 1979, Closed 9 June 1979 at the Queen's Theatre (now Sondheim Theatre)

Adapted for the stage from 'The Who' album by Paul Tomlinson and John Hole.

The original cast featured Allan Love as 'Tommy', Peter Straker as 'The Narrator', Anna Nicholas as 'The Acid Queen', Kevin Williams as 'Cousin Kevin', Bob Grant as 'Uncle Ernie', and Lorelei Lynn as 'Sally Simpson', with Sue Bond, Philip Carvosso, Colin Copperfield, Eric Danot, Steve Devereaux, and Vivien Stokes.

Directed by Paul Tomlinson and John Hole, with choreography by Tudor Davies, sets by David Knapman, costumes by Harry Waistnage, lighting by Stanley Osborne, and sound by Bob Pridden.

1st West End Revival 1996 at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Previewed 20 February 1996, Opened 5 March 1996, Closed 8 February 1997 at the Shaftesbury Theatre

The Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff The Who musical Tommy in London

On the journey from Broadway to London Tommy has won 24 major awards including five Tonys and a highly prized Grammy. Broadway box office records were shattered. The show met with unanimous rave reviews from theatre and music critics alike, who championed its arrival. Now at last it comes home. To London.

Tommy accelerates your sense into overdrive with an explosion of technical wizardry: stunning special effects, breathtaking sets and dazzling choreography propel you along one of the most powerful musical scores ever written.

Based on the original rock opera Tommy by The Who, adapted for the stage by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff.

The original cast featured Paul Keating as 'Tommy', Kim Wilde as 'Mrs Walker', Alistair Robins as 'Captain Walker', Hal Fowler as 'Cousin Kevin', Nicola Hughes as 'The Acid Queen', Ian Bartholomew as 'Uncle Ernie', and Gail Easdale as 'Sally Simpson', with Megan Bertie, Gregg Brown, Patrick Clancy, Steve Devereaux, Shaun Escoffery, James Gillan, Nigel Harman, Frederike Hass, Shaun Henson, Beth O'Brien, John Partridge, Natalie Powers, Golda Rosheuvel, Adrian Smith, Spencer Stafford, Hannah Tollman, Emma Tunmore, Geoffrey Tyler, Ian Waller, and Tara Wilkinson. Nigel Harman understudied the role of 'Cousin Kevin', and took over the role when Hal Fowler left the cast towards the end of the run.

Directed by Des McAnuff, with choreography by Wayne Cilento, sets by John Arnone, projections by Wendall K Harrington, costumes by David C Woolard, lighting by Chris Parry, and sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy.

"Sparkling with Broadway stardust, The Who's Tommy is a sanitised version of the rock opera that scorched on to the cinema screen in the Seventies. But what a vital, vibrant, exciting and stunning show this is... Composer-lyricist Pete Townshend, who wrote the 1969 original album with a little help from his Who friends, teamed up with brilliant Canadian director Des McAnuff to rework the story of the deaf, dumb and blind kid into the sort of musical his band's original fans could take their children and, possibly, grandkids to see. The result was a Broadway smash, though the book remains as ludicrous as ever... But for all its imperfections, Tommy takes off like a rock and roll rocket, with Paul Keating growing in stature in the title role, Kim Wilde playing his mother with assurance, if not a great voice, and John Arnone's spectacular sets threatening to upstage the performers with hi-tech sophistication that takes the breath away. It's the type of supercharged production that puts the show into showbusiness. Rock along and marvel." The News of the World

"As a piece of musical theatre, Tommy is a pretentious, simple-minded and pedestrian piece of bilge. Des McAnuff's spectacular production brings off the impossible: it almost turns it into a real musical. This is pretty breathtaking, since the thing has an unbelievably batty story, no real characters to speak of, and a construction which is like a series of garish rock videos... There are lots of performances but virtually no acting, except by the excellent Ian Bartholomew, who is like a sly, plump lizard. But then, what is there to act? This show is all about production: high-tech staging, superbly drilled choreography and relentless, overwhelming sound. How does Tommy get cured? Even a mad therapist wouldn't believe it. Suffice to say that he is 'free': he becomes a celebrity but returns to his parents, and everyone is noisily and garishly optimistic. The idea is, as Tommy howls, 'To be what you'll be' one of those dumb recipes for living which would be just as meaningless if you read it backwards." The Sunday Times

"Anyone who does not come away frothing at the mouth with excitement at this thrilling £3.5 million stage realisation of Pete Townshend's famous 1969 rock-opera must have taken leave of their senses. For here is a non-chemical version of Ecstasy that aims for the ultimate sensory theatrical experience. This outstanding Broadway production, which deservedly won five Tony awards when it opened in New York three years ago, unites surrealistic pop art with driving rock rhythms and completely redefines modern musical staging. On a set like a giant electronic adventure playground, the story of the deaf, dumb and blind boy who becomes a Pinball Wizard unfolds with retina-dazzling speed in American director Des McAnuff's brilliantly imaginative production... Even the doll-faced Kim Wilde's somewhat inexpressive presence and bland voice as Tommy's pneumatic blonde mother matters little within this superb ensemble piece. There are stand-out performances from Ian Bartholomew's ferrety spiv Uncle Ernie and Hal Fowler's impudent cousin Kevin. 'I'm A Sensation,' sings Paul Keating in one of Tommy's classic songs. And at the risk of too much hyperbole, the show most certainly is too." The Daily Express

"Tommy returned to the London stage last night and the question on everyone's lips was: Does he still play a mean pinball? The answer is a deafening YES! Tommy still rocks on after 27 years, thanks mainly to newcomer Paul Keating. Six months ago he was stacking supermarket shelves. Now, as the deaf, dumb and blind kid, Paul has breathed new life into The Who's rock opera... The show lasts 2 1/4 hours, but its 22 scene changes will leave you breathless by the end. Kim Wilde makes her acting debut as Tommy's mum Mrs Walker and-despite obvious first-night nerves-she was belting out the numbers by the second act. Other highlights included Nicola Hughes as the Acid Queen with an electrifying version of Sensation. But there was only one number the audience wanted to hear and, predictably, Pinball Wizard brought the house down. However, the night belonged to Paul Keating. His powerful voice and amazing stage presence should guarantee him a glittering career." The Sun

Tommy in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre previewed from 20 February 1996, opened on 5 March 1996 and closed 8 February 1997

London Revival 2015 at the Greenwich Theatre

Previewed 29 July 2015, Opened 31 July 2015, Closed 23 August 2015 at the Greenwich Theatre

Based on the original rock opera Tommy by The Who, adapted for the stage by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff.

The cast featured Ashley Birchall as 'Tommy', Miranda Wilford as 'Mrs Walker', James Sinclair as 'Captain Walker', Giovanni Spano as 'Cousin Kevin', Carly Bums as 'The Acid Queen', John Barr as 'Uncle Ernie'. and Carrie Sutton as 'Sally Simpson'. with Danny Becker, Alice Mogg, and Scott Sutcliffe.

Directed by Michael Strassen, with choreography by Mark Smith, designs by Nik Corral, and lighting by David Howe.

London Revival 2017 at the Theatre Royal Stratford

Opened 12 June 2017, Closed 17 June 2017 at the Theatre Royal Stratford

Limited one-week run presented as part of a regional tour.

Based on the original rock opera Tommy by The Who, adapted for the stage by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff.

The cast featured William Grint as 'Tommy', Donna Mullings as 'Mrs Walker', Max Runham as 'Captain Walker', Lukus Alexander as 'Cousin Kevin', Peter Straker as 'The Acid Queen', Garry Robson as 'Uncle Ernie', and Amy Trigg as 'Sally Simpson', with Becky Barry, Julian Capolei, Amelia Cavallo, Stacey Ghent, Matthew Jacobs Morgan, Alim Jayda, Natasha Julien, Adam Langstaff, Natasha Lewis, Shekinah Mcfarlane, Hearns Sebuado, Steve Simmonds, Anthony Snowden, and Tony Qunta.

Directed by Kerry Michael, with choreography by Mark Smith, designs by Neil Irish, video and lighting by Arnim Friess, and sound by Andrew Johnson.