TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME —A reinvented version of the Who’s classic rock opera Tommy will return to Broadway in 2021, its director said.
Des McAnuff oversaw the 1993 production, which won five Tony Awards and gave him one of his two Best Director wins. The show was based on the stage version he co-wrote with Pete Townshend.
“Our new production of Tommy will be a reinvention aimed directly at today,” McAnuff said in a statement. “Tommy combines myth and spectacle in a way that truly soars. The key question with any musical is, ‘Does the story sing?’ And this one most certainly does.”
Describing the Tommy character as “the antihero ground zero,” McAnuff noted that the character “becomes lost in the universe as he stares endlessly and obsessively into the mirror at his own image. This gives our story a powerful resonance today, as it seems like the whole world is staring into the black mirror. The story of Tommy exists all too comfortably in the 21st century. In fact, time may finally have caught up to Tommy Walker.”
Patrick Catullo, co-producer alongside Hal Luftig, said he’d seen the 90’s show on his 16th birthday. “It completely blew my mind and is the singular reason I pursued a career in theater,” he said. “The story is timeless and it’s one of the best scores ever written. I am beyond excited to present Tommy not only for its existing fans, but to introduce it to a new audience as well.”
Two weeks back, McAnuff and Townshend oversaw a reunion of the original cast, including Michael Ceveris and Donnie Kehr. Said Kehr of the reunion performance: “Singing Pinball Wizard on stage with Pete Townshend playing guitar next to me is not only a dream come true but a legendary moment in my life. Doesn’t get better than that.”
LIGHT OF DAY — With a goal of reaching the $6 million mark in its ongoing battle against Parkinson’s disease, Light Of Day Winterfest: The 20th Anniversary,presented by the Asbury Park Press, celebrates its momentous milestone year as the anchor event for the world-renowned Light of Day Foundation with over 50 events by 150 music acts in five cities and three states, from Jan. 10-20, 2020. Those cities are Asbury Park, NJ, Montclair, NJ, New York City, Rockland County, NY, and Philadelphia.
The on-sale date for tickets is, as the Bruce Springsteen song that inspired the organization’s name says, “just around the corner.” With 11 surprise annual performances, Springsteen has helped catapult the festival to international notoriety as its raised $5.5 million through its first 19 years. His unannounced appearances traditionally occur during Bob’s Birthday Bash, the main event at every Light of Day WinterFest.
Bob’s Birthday Bash is named for Bob Benjamin, the artist manager and music industry veteran who founded Light of Day in 1998 – two years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease – as a 40th birthday party fundraiser at a Red Bank, NJ café that brought the first $2,000 to the organization. Two decades later, and Benjamin’s personal battle against Parkinson’s is ever-expanding through Light of Day as he continues to steer the Foundation with grant money to organizations which fund specific research initiatives, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation, CurePSP, the Parkinson’s Foundation (formerly the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation), and the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.
The Light of Day Foundation also supports “boots on the ground” programs designed to help people with these diseases live better lives on a daily basis, including co-sponsored projects with Joan Dancy & PALS, with a mission to help New Jersey residents in nearby Monmouth and Ocean Counties afflicted with ALS by providing a better quality of life for them and their families.
SHORT TAKES — Trevor Joe Lennon hosted celebrity-author Mark Bego on his podcast last week. Here it is: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdeborah-l-markferding-lennon%2Fmark-bego-author-trevor-joe-lennon%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR2PgSGEhrj4-X4xrNZL8QxDkgY2bcoN77_6R_fCOOTFetxczyKcTBL1CB0&h=AT0bs7Wqya9vDMyDMvxgDOLPseC3OBeY4YPXzwJF3zJfMJ5VfwoGwQyVyTg343uSOZEjsliaYB8emCdZzidg05YLYGYl76GgfINhrln5v99fdmZnelZHanKKT8F4nHU0yM1EzXjHXzSzBa611VRH …
Speaking of Mark Bego, he’ll topline an event at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room for his Supreme Glamour; written with Mary Wilson. Wilson will be on hand as well on Monday, November 18 …
I watched (along with million others) the debut of HBO’s Watchmen this past Sunday … and, understood almost none of it. I loved the original graphic novel and adored Zach Snyder’s movie in 2009 …. But, Damon Lindelof (the mastermind behind LOST and The Leftovers) has certainly shaken things up (raining squid?). Apparently the day after the broadcast, the fanboy-community was aghast to which Lindelof responded with an email, saying in essence the original comic had to be shaken up. Indeed it was. HBO on the other hand, trumpeted the show as obtaining the biggest debut-audience ever, since their debut of Westworld. Don Johnson and Regina King were great, but I had a very difficult time trying to determine who or what they were doing. In all honestly, to me it looked a lot like The Leftovers. For the record, I don’t intend on watching any more. Too disturbing, too different, too weird! … Sad to report that the first casualty of the new Fall TV Season looks to be NBC’s Bluff City Law, toplined by Jimmy Smits. Each episode was better and if given a full run (rather than a pitiful 10 episodes), I bet it would have proven its worth. Smart and tastefully done. A real shame for sure … The just-released Rise Of Skywalker trailer almost broke the internet, and, boy, was it good. Although, my two comments are: what’s with all scenes in the water? And, will we see Harrison Ford one more time?
We should … Going back to the oldies this week is artist/producer Gary Wright, whose “Love Is Alive” was a major hit in 1975. Wright, who was born in New Jersey, was a from a Brit-band back in the day called Spooky Tooth, that also featured guitarist Mick Jones, soon to hit it big with Foreigner. He became forever fans with Beatle-George Harrison and Harrison even appeared on the Dick Cavett Show with Wright, performing a song called “Two Faced Man.” Rumors abound that Harrison actually wrote the song and it was about John Lennon; who turned down a chance to appear at Harrison’s Bangla Desh concert. Remember that? Here’s the Cavett-show clip with a very-young Mick Jones on guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81i_1gmztRc …
Fresh from the Fifty Years Ago tour, Bassist Jason Scheff releases his first solo album, November 8, entitled Here I Am … Happy BDay Andrew Tobin!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Wendy Stuart Kaplan; Deb Caponetta; Andy Fuhrman; David Steel; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Trevor Joe Lennon: Katrina and Kent Moran; Cori Gardner; Barry Fisch; Eppy; Joe Bonadonna; Earl Bailey; Denis McNamara; and, Ziggy