Cast Announced for Summer Musical THE WHO'S TOMMY at ZACH Theatre, 7/9-8/24

Cast Announced for Summer Musical THE WHO'S TOMMY at ZACH Theatre, 7/9-8/24

ZACH Theatre announces the cast of this summer's most highly anticipated musical - The Who's Tommy<> in an all-new production created for ZACH's Topfer Stage July 9 - August 24, 2014. This dynamic cast includes some of Austin's best rock vocalists joined by a Guest Artist from NYC, a professional hip hop DJ/break-dancer, gymnasts, and a live band under the musical direction of ALLEN ROBERTSON.

The Who's legendary rock opera explodes with hit songs like "Pinball Wizard," "See Me, Feel Me" and "I'm Free." In Director Dave Steakley's interpretation of this musical young Tommy witnesses a crime that makes him "deaf, dumb and blind" as he falls through his favorite storybook and down the rabbit hole into an Alice In Wonderland-inspired rock-n-roll adventure. The White Rabbit becomes Tommy's guide through this "Amazing Journey" as Tommy encounters his Uncle Ernie as the Mad Hatter, his Cousin Kevin as the Cheshire Cat, the Acid Queen as the Queen of Hearts, a hookah smoking Judge Caterpillar, his doctor specialists Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, and his parents who transform into the White King and Queen. This acclaimed reinvention is a must-see theatrical journey where the entire Topfer theatre is transformed into a giant pinball machine with audience participation to keep the pinball in play!

"Tommy is one of my very favorite musicals, and when I first began to explore it as a Director I saw parallels in Tommy's story as conceived by The Who and in Lewis Carroll's trippy Alice In Wonderland, which was immortalized in Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". This rock opera has always been a work which has lent itself to differing interpretations - from the original concerts, to the film, to various stage productions and that is a big part of the fun for the audience - always getting a renewed sense of discovery" says Dave Steakley, Producing Artistic Director at ZACH Theatre.

Steakley adds, "Tommy's extraordinary success playing pinball gets parlayed into rock star status with rabid fans who cling to his every word and gesture. Culturally it has a lot to say about how we create celebrity and how disposable fleeting fame is once achieved, when pop culture moves on to the next hot thing. On a personal level for Tommy, it is a journey within himself to find forgiveness and healing, so he can move on to become the person he wants to be. I'm thrilled to welcome the amazing choreographer Robin Lewis back to ZACH who will bring his extraordinary inventiveness to this work, which requires non-stop musical staging. Costume Designer Susan Branch Towne's fantastic rock interpretations of the iconic Alice characters are so exciting, and Scenic Designer Cliff Simon has given us a playground with ramps, saturate lighting and transforming scenic units that will help us live inside a pinball machine."

After auditioning over 100 actors in NYC, Guest Artist Michael Valentine won the coveted role of "Tommy" and is making his Austin debut on ZACH's stage. ZACH favorites Meredith McCall (Next To Normal) and Matthew Redden (White Christmas) will star as "Mrs. Walker" and "Captain Walker" with Austin singer-songwriter Susanne Abbott (Ain't Nothing But The Blues) as "The Acid Queen". Professional B Boy-dancer Gabriel "WickeT" Jaochico is "The White Rabbit" and he will be DJ-ing a live mix in ZACH's lounge pre-show. Timothy Ellis Riley brings his gymnastics and Cirque du Soleil skills to play as "Cousin Kevin" through the guise of the "Cheshire Cat." Paul Sanchez will lead the Tea Party as the Mad Hatter "Uncle Ernie". Austin rock front man Scott Swanson (RENT) is "The Lover" who becomes "The Red King of Hearts." And youth performers Diego Rodriguez and Will Sendera, who both recently appeared in A Christmas Story, will alternate in the role of "Young Tommy" who crosses through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole.

The Ensemble features: Robert Corkill, Caysi Dennis, Christa Oliver, Kelly Petlin, Justin Waller, Beverly Theodore, Glenn Britton, Matthew Moore, Conor Donnelly, Taylor Bryant, Edward Burkley, Jennifer, Braden Sweeney, Lauren Beausoleil, Felicia Fitzpatrick, and Christopher Montalvo.

The WHo's TOmmy is Directed by Dave Steakley with Choreography by Robin Lewis, Musical Direction by Allen Robertson, Scenic Design by Cliff Simon, Costume Design by Susan Branch Towne, Lighting Design by Jason Amato, Projections Design by STEPHANIE BUSING, Sound Design by Craig Brock and Properties Design by Scott Groh.
Tickets start at $25 and are available on-line at, by phone at 512-476-0541 ext. 1, or in person at the ZACH Theatre Box Office, in the Topfer Theatre, 202 South Lamar Blvd. (corner of Riverside Drive and South Lamar Blvd.) Monday through Saturday, 12 noon - 7 pm. ZACH Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Discounts are available for groups of 8 or more. Student Rush Tickets are $18 one hour before show time (with valid ID). ZACH's full bar opens 90 minutes prior to show time, and remains open for one hour post-show. Performances are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Sunday at 2:30 pm.

Special events in celebration of THE WHO'S TOMMY include:

Champagne Opening and Press Night: July17, 2014. Reception with the stars of the show immediately follows the performance.

ZACH's GLBT Wilde Party<>: Thursday, July 10, 2014 includes a pre-show mixer for Austin Gay, Lesbian and Transgender communities.

Z Lounge Music<>: DJ BBoy Wicket will be spinning a lively mix of classic dance hits to get the party started pre-show in ZACH's lounge nightly and at matinees.

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