Jenna Leigh Green, who played Nessarose in the Los Angeles production of Wicked, has also joined the cast in the role of Sally Simpson. Ripley — who was part of the original Broadway cast of Tommy — and Green replace the previously announced Susan Egan and Haylie Duff, who have both withdrawn from the production.
Directed by Brian Purcell, The Who's Tommy will play the California venue June 18-29. The starry cast will also boast famed singer Nona Hendrix (LaBelle, "The L-Word") as the Acid Queen, Aleks Pevec as Tommy, Tom Schmid as Captain Walker and Hank Adams as Uncle Ernie.
The creative team will also include musical director Dan Redfeld, choreographer Denise Leitner and sound designer James Johnson.
The production, according to press notes, will employ high definition 3-D sound, presented by EXP3D: "Each guest will have a headset to wear, the equivalent of movie 3-D glasses for this production. Unlike conventional headphone experience, where the soundscape is a straight line between the wearer's ears, EXP3D sound gives the listener a fully dimensional room of sound with height, width, and depth."
In a previous statement director Purcell said, "We envision a Tommy that takes place inside of Tommy's own head and to track his experience of his story. This gives us an entirely new canvas to present this work, which has meant so much to the three generations that have come up since the album's original release. "Tommy was inspired by and written to convey the experience of how Townsend felt after being taught by Meher Baba, a Persian man born in India who became a spiritual master and teacher and anti-drug advocate, and other writings and expressing the enlightenment he believes he received. It is a metaphorical story of different states of consciousness. I want to return the work to this base – and to strip down this work and return it back to the sensibility and the message of the original album from 1969 – raising awareness of the spirit."
The Who's Tommy, which was based on the concept album "Tommy" by the British rock group The Who — about an alienated, abused child who, despite having lost his sight, speech and hearing at an early age, becomes a pinball wizard and youth culture icon — was adapted by the Who's Pete Townshend and director Des McAnuff into a stage musical. It ran for more than two years on Broadway and won Tonys for McAnuff's direction and Townshend's score, in a tie with Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman.
The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre is located at 1615 Vine Street in Hollywood, CA. Tickets, priced $50 and $75, are available by calling (323) 230-9819 or by visiting www.tix.com. For more information go to www.thewhostommy.com.