REVIEW: The Who’s TOMMY

Joshua Steele got really good at producing concert-style musicals when he was at his last gig.  So I wasn’t surprised to see that in his new role at Memorial Hall he was doing another.  I also am not surprised that it is very well executed.  And why not?  What a team he has put together.

Leslie Goddard, who while directing this show was also rehearsing for another musical down the street, helms this show and it’s a smash hit.  The choreography, the pacing, the use of the small stage and entire theatre shows that she knows what she’s doing.  And her cast is pretty great, too.

Noah Berry plays the adult version of “Tommy,” and he is excellent.  His voice soars and his presence o stage is star-like.  Zack Steele, whom I’ve not seen in a while, turns in another solid, professional performance.  Also very good are members of the Ensemble like Tia Seay, who nearly steals Act One with her rendition of “Acid Queen.”  George Ivan, Hannah Gregory, Kyle Kemph,and Katie Johannigman also stood out.

The band sounds fantastic, led by Steve Goers, and including other favorites of mine, Brad Myers and Julie Spangler.  Janet Powell’s costumes sparkle under the rock-concert style lights.  Ken Holdt leads a choir of young voices, positioned in the balcony, and they add to the performance.  The projections aid the audience in following the story; this is definitely a rock opera with minimal talking and a whole lot of classic rock and roll.

The audience was largely made up of people who grew up listening to “The Who.”  But there were some young faces, perhaps being exposed to this kind of rock-goodness for the first time.  That warms my heart.  And the music made my toes tap – well as much as they could in those tight-fitting seats.

Kudos to Goddard; I hope the directing bug has bitten.