On 23 May 1969, Pete Townsend and Kit Lambert, with input from Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, released the iconic rock opera “TOMMY.” It made its Broadway debut in 1993 and has since been reproduced numerous times around the world in both professional and community theater venues.
After witnessing the murder of his mother’s lover by his father, Tommy is traumatized into catatonia, and as the boy grows, he suffers abuse at the hands of his sadistic relatives and neighbors. As an adolescent, he’s discovered to have an uncanny knack for playing pinball, and when his mother finally breaks through his catatonia, he becomes an international pinball superstar.
The show’s details
This tale of a young boy’s journey from pain to triumph is the most electrifying evening of rock and roll ever to play in a theatre, will be playing at the Edward Milne Theater:
- November 6 and 7 (7:00 p.m.)
- November 13 and 14 (7:00 p.m.)
- November 15 (2:00 p.m.)
- November 20 and 21 (7:00 p.m.)
Tickets available online at eventbrite.ca or at Shoppers Drug Mart and The Stick ($20/$16 for Seniors).
For those who truly enjoy classic rock at its finest (and are disappointed with the recent cancellation of The Who’s tour dates), there is a preview rock show at the Lucky Bar in Victoria (517 Yates St) on Thursday, Oct 29th at 9:30 PM, with advance tickets for $13 available at Lyle’s Place, BC Smoke Shop Inc., Vinyl Envy and ticketweb.ca. (Please note: Tickets will be available at the door for both Lucky Bar and Sooke Theater shows.) This will feature music from the show and a classic Who set featuring various songs from that time frame, and a guest appearance from our own Sooke music performer and song writer Gord Phillips.[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Behind the scenes
At this point you may ask, “sounds interesting but……why should I go see it?” The answer is simply this: the finest talent from Sooke and the surrounding communities (led by artistic director Marjorie Baskerville) will dazzle you. The live band (led by Musical Director Stephen Horak) will amaze you. The sound (managed by Landon Kelley and Josh Mansfield) will impress you. The costumes (managed by Christa Rossner) are suited perfectly for the scenes. The stage (designed by Martin Reinders) brilliantly showcases the band. The props (managed by Marleen Kiral and Sandy Howe) are perfect for the action. The choreography (written by Brandy Baybutt) keeps the show moving forward. The fantastic vocal talent (directed by John Bidner) is some of the best you will hear. The light show (directed by Jill Sweetin, also Producer of Sooke’s Cabaret and assisted by Cameron Marentette) adds the flair and excitement commensurate with a good rock show. Finally, this is all tied together with superb stage management (provided by Alison Arsenault and Patricia Bortoletto).
This production is proudly presented by Sooke Harbour Players. Despite a challenging two month time line (most theater groups support a four-month rehearsal schedule) the vocal talent, live rock music and story line are seamlessly united to provide a solid tribute to one of the most acclaimed musicals in rock history.
On- and off-stage talent
At this point you might wonder “who is doing all this marvellous singing you are referring to?” I can enthusiastically state that our vocal talent is a balanced mix of Sooke people you might have seen before – and an exciting group of people that are new to our theater circle. Our talent includes the astounding vocals of Dwayne Gordon (as Tommy), returning Sooke theater enthusiast Mike Kelley (as Captain Walker), and seasoned rock vocalist Jennifer Wilde, and newcomer Rita Slanina (as Mrs Walker). The supporting cast features impressive performers like Jonathan Francoer (lead vocals for “Pinball Wizard”), PJ McCormack (as Sally Simpson), Megan Einarsen (as Cousin Kevin), and Shirley Brobeck (as the Acid Queen). Not to be overlooked, is the fantastically lecherous Rob Cruse (as Uncle Ernie), who despite taking on one of the most challenging roles in the show, has produced some of the most brilliant presentations of someone who is truly “in tune” with his character.
These are merely a few of the powerful, impressive cast members that have worked tirelessly on and off stage to present this show to our community. As always, there are numerous volunteers providing technical support and backstage assistance that are obviously critical to any community event.[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Pinball Tournament
Now you might ask “well, that sounds great! Are there any activities or events that are in place to help promote this historical community theater achievement?” Of course! The Edward Milne Community School has graciously offered its school lobby to host a “Tommy” themed Pinball Tournament, from 2 – 5 PM on Sunday, Nov 8th, featuring the Data East “Tommy” pinball machine. For a mere $5.00 entry fee you can show off your pinball skills and win free tickets to the show, in addition to other great prizes.
So, to summarize, I hope all your questions have been answered. Between now and November 21, if you are ever asking yourself what to do for entertainment, there are many options. Watch sports. Play bingo. Try a different hairstyle.
Or….come out and rock the house with us. Sing, laugh, stomp your feet, and enjoy the powerful and exhilarating performances of the finest talent around.
Come and join us on our Amazing Journey.
by Joe Scheubel, Producer
The Who’s TOMMY