Review: The Who’s Tommy

The Who’s Tommy; 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday; $12-$20. Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Folsom Lake College, Stage One, 10 College Parkway in Folsom; (916) 608-6888; Through April 23.
Rated 5.0

Those familiar with The Who’s 1969 concept album Tommy know the lyrics and storyline are dark, but because the music is so powerful, sometimes it’s easy to forget about poor Tommy’s heartbreaking plight. However, watching the rock opera unfold onstage makes it clear just how disturbing the story is of a young boy who goes deaf, dumb and blind after witnessing a gruesome murder.

The current production at Falcon’s Eye Theatre makes the tale of a tormented young boy resonate by bringing together breathtaking production elements, a talented cast and an impressive four-member band that plays the hell out of the two-hour score with such familiar songs as “Pinball Wizard” and “We’re Not Going to Take It.”

Director David Harris not only brings his background to the show (he was part of the original cast in the musical’s 1992 debut production), but also his renowned creative production team, which uses videos, elevating panels, a rotating stage and imaginative lighting and sound to portray London between 1941 and 1963.

And then there’s Tommy—the talented 17-year-old Evan Martorana immediately draws the audience into his inner turmoil with his commanding singing, dancing and stage presence. The rest of the cast, including the chorus of student actors, are equally good—with a special recognition of Dominique Dates, who really delivers with her rendition of “Acid Queen.”

Catch this production and never hear those familiar songs the same way again.