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Pete Townshend & Des McAnuff

The Who’s Tommy to return to Broadway in 2021

The production will feature music and lyrics by Pete Townshend and will be directed by Tony-Award winner Des McAnuff

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The Who's Tommy will head back to the Great White Way for the first time in over 25 years, it has been announced. Nominated for best new musical at the 1993 Tony Awards, the rock opera will return to Broadway in 2021, with details on a venue, performance schedule and casting to be announced.

Inspired by The Who's 1969 album 'Tommy' that sold more than 20 million copies, the musical tells the story of Tommy Walker, a young boy traumatized into seeming deafness and blindness. But, his pinball wizardry launches him on a path toward a new movement, with songs including "I'm Free," "See Me, Feel Me," and "Pinball Wizard." 

The Who's Tommy received its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in 1992, later transferring to Broadway in 1993 where it won five Tony Awards including best original score and a Grammy Award for best musical show album.

The musical features an original book by The Who bandmember Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff, with music and lyrics by Townshend and direction by McAnuff, as the pair collaborate for the Broadway revival. McAnuff's recent directorial credits include Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.

Speaking about the production's announcement, McAnuff said: "Our new production of Tommy will be a reinvention aimed directly at today. Tommy is the anti-hero ground zero.  He is the boy who not only rejects adulthood like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, but existence itself.  He becomes lost in the universe as he stares endlessly and obsessively into the mirror at his own image.  This gives our story a powerful resonance today as it seems like the whole world is staring into the black mirror.  The story of Tommy exists all too comfortably in the 21st Century.  In fact, time may finally have caught up to Tommy Walker."

The Who's Tommy is produced by Hal Luftig and Patrick Catullo.

(Photo by Doug Gifford)

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