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The Who's Tommy

Music by Pete Townshend

Book by Pete Townshend and Des MacAnuff

Department of Musical Theatre

Power Center for the Performing Arts

April 12 - 15, 2007


The Story:
Tommy follows the life of Tommy Walker and his dysfunctional family in post-W.W. II England when his mind is shattered following a series of traumatic events. After witnessing his father kill a man, four-year old Tommy retreats into catatonia. He is further injured by abuse from relatives and from numerous medical attempts by his parents to cure him. By accident, Tommy finds his voice through his uncanny ability to play pinball. Idolized as a local hero, his fame grows when he is miraculously cured. But his newly found freedom only serves to highlight the exploitation and loneliness inherent in stardom. Deciding to abandon his celebrity and reconcile with his family, Tommy is finally able to begin living a normal life.

Artistic Significance:

The Who’s Tommy made pop history by blending a rock-n-roll sound with a slender plot that carried throughout the double album’s twenty-four songs like a classical song cycle. The album’s debut in 1969 rocketed the band to international stardom and was declared “the first pop masterpiece” by the New York Times. Songs such as “Amazing Journey” and “Pinball Wizard” have passed into mainstream culture as classics. In 1993, Tommy came to Broadway under the collaboration of songwriter Pete Townshend and director Des McAnuff (winner of numerous Tony Awards) with a fleshed out narrative and a new song. Earning a record breaking eleven Tony Award nominations, the musical won five including Best Score and Best Direction. Declared by Frank Rich of the New York Times as “the authentic rock musical that has eluded Broadway,” Tommy combines exhilarating sights and sounds into a lively musical theatre experience.



The Who's Tommy graphic

Artwork by Don Hammond Design


Director/Choreographer Linda Goodrich 
Music Director Cynthia Kortman Westphal
Scenic Designer Rob Murphy
Costume Designer Meghann O'Malley Powell
Lighting Designer Mark Allen Berg
Sound Designer Scott Stauffer
Original Video Design Wendall Harrington
Wig and Makeup Design Dawn Rivard
Stage Manager

Christina M. Hagan

Production Photos

Click here to view photos from the production


Click here to view The Who's Tommy program

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower