The Who's TOMMY
Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College Presents
The Who’s TOMMY
--The Stages’ First Ever Rock Opera–
-- Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical--
April 20, 2011: Kalamazoo (Mich.) – Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College will produce The Who’s TOMMY, the musical, May 19-22 in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse.The first ever rock opera, nominated for 11 Tony Awards and winner of six (including Best Musical,) this smash Broadway musical tells the simple fable of Tommy, who has been traumatized after his father’s murder, but finds his true self as an adolescent when it’s discovered he “sure plays a mean pinball.”
Technical Director, Jon Reeves will return to directing at Festival Playhouse after his successful debut in RETURN TO THE FOBIDDEN PLANET in the spring of 2009. “With a cast of 31 the energy in the theatre is unbelievable,” said Reeves. “No matter what kind of day you've had walking, into the theatre and hearing the music and seeing all these people dancing just brings you right up.”
In addition to the direction of Reeves, Rachel Miller of Wellspring/Cori Terri and Dancers is choreographing the fast-paced musical. Reeves has the assistance of a student assistant director in senior Becky Dennis and student vocal director sophomore Rudi Goddard. “Even though I've never been a vocal director before, the cast and I are learning how to work together as we go along. I am lucky to have an excellent accompanist (Matt Shabala) who helps me out, especially when teaching the big chorus numbers, of which there are many in this show,” said Goddard
According to Costumer Elaine Kauffman, costuming for TOMMY has been a real challenge; mainly due to the sheer size of the cast and the fact that most cast members play multiple roles and that the play covers a twenty-year time span as well. Her biggest challenge “is finding appropriate military uniforms that can serve as British, German and Allied military of WWII, and of course, those are costumes that have only brief moments on stage,” said Kauffman.
The set designed by Jon Reeves is meant to look like the bank side of London meets rock and roll. With a giant smashed mirrored ball and so many different entrances, “I want it to feel like a nonstop roller coaster ride,” said Reeves. Even from the moment the playgoer walks into the lobby they will be made to feel part of the production, as the lobby too will have free-play pinball machines donated by the Klassic Arcade in Gobles.
All performances are in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse on the Kalamazoo College campus, May 19-22. Thursday’s performance begins at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday’s performances begin at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Sunday. Thursday night is “pay what you want.” Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, adults are $15.00, seniors are $10.00, and students (with ID) are $5.00. The box office will open one hour prior to each performance to purchase tickets and it will be festival seating (first come). For more information visit www.kzoo.edu/theatre or call (269) 337-7333.