“Tommy Can You Hear Me?”
Sooke Harbour Players has been producing shows since 1982; the performances have varied from Disney to Gilbert and Sullivan, and shows that have been written and produced by local talent. One concept in theater that has not been truly examined is the concept of Rock Opera. For the first time since 2006, this will be revisited with the production of The Who’s “Tommy” in November of this year.
Marjorie Baskerville, artistic director and originator of the project, feels excited about having this performed in Sooke, and has wished to present this show for over three years. When asked about what will make this a different experience for theater enthusiasts, she was quick to respond: “Tommy is a specific format that most people know through the movie – its adaptation for Broadway allows for great flexibility in that we can make this as big or as small as we like, and we have options as to how we can tell the story. With a live band, the right cast and great visual effects, this will provide something different and enjoyable for all who attend.”
When asked about the production, Marjorie beams with pride and excitement. “One of the greatest things about our show is the vast diversity of experience on the production team. There is always an abundance of excellent ideas!”
The production team includes people that have performed in or helped organize a variety of shows:
- Joe Scheubel – Producer (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Pirates of Penzance, Miss Saigon, Alice in Wonderland)
- Alison Arsenault – Stage Manager (Joseph, Pirates of Penzance, Alice in Wonderland)
- Marjorie Baskerville – Artistic Director (Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph, Hidden Magic)
- Stephen J. Horak – Musical Director (Laundronauts, Radco, Jesus Christ Superstar)
- Katrina Kadoski – Choral Director (Cougar Annie Tales, The Hobbit, Fractured Fables)
- Brandy Baybutt – Choreographer (Kokoro Dance, Mascall Dance, Suddenly Dance Theater)
- Christa Rossner – Costume Manager ( Curl blues band, Seamstress, Sculpter)
- Martin Reinders – Set Master (Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Man, The Lion King, My Fair Lady)
- Landon Kelley – Tech Lead (Music Man, Pirates of Penzance)
- Jill Sweetin – Lighting Director (Cabaret Sooke, Afterlife, Cirque du Soleil)
Tommy is a child who becomes blind, deaf and dumb upon witnessing the murder of his stepfather; he is proven to have an uncanny knack for pinball and becomes an international sensation with a cult following.
Stephen Horak, an experienced musician from Victoria and a previous colleague of Marjorie’s, described the intentions for the actual arrangement: “The core rock ensemble will be as close in personality to the Townshend/Entwistle/Moon combo as possible, but structurally we’ll be working a lot closer to the Broadway cast recording”
To add to the excitement of this production, “Tommy” has already attained its first official sponsor, Nitro Amusements from Vancouver. Tommy Floyd, the owner of the company, has agreed to provide three iconic pinball machines for use during the run of the show, free of charge.
If you’re looking for great live music and an insight to some of “The Who’s” greatest works, this is not a show you want to miss. Performance dates are November 6–7, 13–15 and 20–21.
Auditions are May 9-10 and 16-17 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Edward Milne Community Theatre. Questions regarding auditions or volunteers can be directed to the producer, Joe Scheubel (JoeScheubel@gmail.com). Audition requirements and details will be available on the Sooke Harbour Players Website, www.sookeharbourplayers.com.