Tommy director Des McAnuff will bring a brand new staging of The Who's rock musical to Ontario’s Stratford Festival, starring Robert Markus as Tommy Walker, Paul Nolan as Cousin Kevin and Jeremy Kushnier as Captain Walker. The production will begin performances May 4 at Stratford’s Avon Theatre, with an official opening night set for May 30. Tommy is scheduled to play a limited engagement through October 19.
Featuring music and lyrics by Pete Townshend, a book by Townshend and McAnuff, and additional material by John Entwistle, Keith Moon and Sonny Boy Williamson, Tommy tells the story of a boy who, after experiencing a childhood trauma, becomes a pinball prodigy—even though he is unable to see or hear. When his sight and hearing are suddenly restored, Tommy is hailed as a living miracle—but will the fans who turn to him for enlightenment want to hear what he has to say?
In addition to Markus, Kushnier and Nolan, Tommy is set to star Jewelle Blackman as the Gypsy, Kira Guloien as Mrs. Walker and Steve Ross as Uncle Ernie, Matthew G. Brown as Specialist, Sean Alexander Hauk as Lover, Jennifer Rider Shaw as Sally and Lee Siegal as Hawker. The ensemble will include Matt Alfano, Gabriel Antonacci, Matthew Armet, Stephen Cota, Larry Herbert, Keely Hutton, Robin Hutton, Julia Juhas, Monique Lund, Nicholas Nesbitt, Laurin Padolina, Katrina Reynolds, Julius Sermonia, Galen Johnson, Krista Leis and Jennifer Stewart.
Adapted from the 1959 album of the same name, The Who’s Tommy originally premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1992 before transferring to Broadway in 1993. Both productions were directed by McAnuff and starred Michael Cerveris. The Broadway mounting earned five Tony Awards, including Best Direction of a Musical.
Nolan made his Broadway debut in the Stratford production of Jesus Christ Superstar. His other Stratford credits include The Grapes of Wrath, As You Like It, West Side Story, Cyrano, Cabaret and King Lear. Kushnier has appeared on Broadway in Rent, Footloose, Jersey Boys and Jesus Christ Superstar. His film and TV credits include The Good Wife, Person of Interest and The Adulterer. Markus’ Canadian theater credits include Next to Normal, Chicago, The Rocky Horror Show and A Christmas Carol.