DENVER (CBS4) – The English rock band, The Who, released “Tommy” in 1969, and critics hailed it as a breakthrough album. It tells the story of a boy, who doesn’t speak or talk. The musical version of “Tommy” opened in 1992, and it went to Broadway in 1993. Almost 50 years after it debuted on vinyl, “Tommy” is playing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
“It’s the text from the Broadway show, that’s the framework,” said Sam Buntrock, the director. “It talks about how we want people to be icons and not people. That’s the rollercoaster ride.”
The character “Tommy” suffers a traumatic incident as a child, which causes him to withdraw. But as he discovers a talent for pinball playing, he has to learn to navigate the fame and fortune of success.
“My own version of the piece is very human, and interested in exploring the relationship that ‘Tommy’ has to his past and his mythology,” Buntrock told CBS4.
“Tommy” ultimately triumphs over his adversities, making this musical about hope, healing, and the human spirit. Themes that audiences of any era can relate to.
“I think ‘Tommy’ will matter as long as people are still discovering that album, and discovering those tunes, and falling in love with it,” said Andy Mientis, who plays “Tommy.” “As long as rock music matters, I think, ‘Tommy’ matters.”