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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center

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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#1
Posted: 4/25/19 at 3:44pm

FYI, the Kennedy Center's production of The Who's Tommy started last night, runs through Monday. This is the latest in the Broadway Center Stage series, the semi-staged Broadway series.

This run stars Casey Cott as Tommy, Christian Borle and Mandy Gonzalez as Captain Walker and Mrs. Walker, Manu Narayan as Uncle Ernie, Kimberly Nichole as The Gypsy, and Wesley Taylor as Cousin Kevin. 

Staging was very interesting, simple use of mirrors and box props to act as doors, furniture, etc. Full costumes and no one carried a script, even though Wednesday was the first performance and the use of scripts is noted in the Playbill. The orchestra was seated on stage in a "mini pit" with ramps built around them. Very minimal scenery with projections setting each scene, unlike more staged shows (The Music Man) in the series.

Production was excellent, though in my opinion, the second act of Tommy is a bit of a mess. 

Updated On: 4/25/19 at 03:44 PM
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#2
Posted: 4/25/19 at 4:07pm

Seeing it tonight - my first time seeing Tommy.   Will report back. 

"Observe how bravely I conceal this dreadful dreadful shame I feel."
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#3
Posted: 4/25/19 at 4:19pm

Marlothom said: "Seeing it tonight - my first time seeing Tommy. Will report back."

Yep, was my first time too, though I generally knew the story. Was only familiar with one song ("Pinball Wizard"The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center.

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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#4
Posted: 4/25/19 at 4:26pm
Was not a fan—this isn’t a show that benefits from the semi-stages format (it’s pretty frail to begin with). It needs that extra bit of spectacle to be truly satisfying.

I will say, Wesley Taylor is a star! Even in a small role he steals the show.
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#5
Posted: 4/25/19 at 8:15pm

We caught it too.  Normally love this show - but was disappointed.  Misses the mark i many ways.  Taylor is strong agree . Some cast  good .  hoped for a stronger version of this show - production has bland vision.

Updated On: 4/25/19 at 08:15 PM
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#6
Posted: 4/25/19 at 8:27pm
This was one production I had absolutely no desire to see when it was announced. I've seen most of what has been presented so far in this format.
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#7
Posted: 4/25/19 at 10:35pm

I agree with the few tepid reviews so far.  I bought tickets to this because it was so thrilling to see Jessie Mueller in The Music Man, that I wanted to see Christian and Mandy in a new production up close and personal (and I was in the 2nd row) but I didn't realize their parts were "not as flashy".  It was fine.  

"Observe how bravely I conceal this dreadful dreadful shame I feel."
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#8
Posted: 4/26/19 at 11:18am

Marlothom said: "I agree with the few tepid reviews so far. I bought tickets to this because it was so thrilling to see Jessie Mueller in The Music Man, that I wanted to see Christian and Mandy in a new production up close and personal (and I was in the 2nd row)but I didn't realize their parts were "not as flashy". It was fine."

Yep, I wasn't planning on going until they announced Christian Borle's casting. I've always wanted to see him. Agree with everyone else that Wesley Taylor was the star of this; he's the one character that seem fully fleshed out. The mom staying with the Captain after the event at the top of the show made ZERO sense. I just don't think this show holds up very well.

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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#10
Posted: 4/26/19 at 2:10pm

Can someone please let me know how CASEY COTT was? (He played Tommy) 
He stars on Riverdale and doesn't usually do musical theatre (unlike his brother Corey) so I'm curious,  and no one has commented about him yet. 

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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#11
Posted: 4/26/19 at 2:25pm
Mark’s reviews are always so over the place.

Cott blended in with the material, though the direction didn’t exactly give him anything to work with. He was fine, and perhaps would have been better in a more fleshed out production. I did have a good time, but the direction fell flat in the second act. It never emphasized the cult/savior like figure Tommy had become, it glossed over it.

I never understood why Tommy was a two act show either, it should be a quick 1 hr 45 of sensory overload.
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The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center#12
Posted: 4/29/19 at 11:36am

I adored it. The score sounded the best it has ever sounded and the cast was first rate. Casey Cott started out a little shaky with "Amazing Journey" but nailed "Sensation" and all of Act 2. Mykal Kilgore gave the greatest rendition of "Eyesight to the Blind" I've ever heard and while I appreciated Wesley Taylor's energy and characterization, the accent rivaled Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

TOMMY essentially boils down to two main messages-- Secrets kill spiritual growth and fake celebrity needs to be rejected. For me, TOMMY is more relevant now than it ever has been. 

Yes, there are parts that never work ("Welcome"The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center and parts that need to be rewritten (the mini-scene right before "We're Not Gonna Take It"The Who's Tommy at Kennedy Center, but it still packs a hell of a punch and I'm dying for it to be revived. 

"I shall stay until the wind changes."