The Who's Tommy, with Ripley, Hendryx and Pevec, Begins June 18

News   The Who's Tommy, with Ripley, Hendryx and Pevec, Begins June 18 Alice Ripley, the Tony-nominated actress who was recently seen on the New York stage in the new musical Next to Normal, plays Mrs. Walker in a limited engagement of The Who's Tommy, which begins performances June 18 at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood.
Nona Hendryx in Tommy.
Nona Hendryx in Tommy. (Photo by Ryan Miller)

Directed by Brian Purcell, the musical will play through June 29. Opening is June 20.

The cast also boasts Nona Hendryx as the Acid Queen, Aleks Pevec as Tommy, Jenna Leigh Green as Sally Simpson, Tom Schmid as Captain Walker and Hank Adams as Uncle Ernie. Lorenzo Doryon plays ten-year-old Tommy with LJ Benet as the four-year-old Tommy.

The Tommy company also includes PJ Griffith (as Cousin Kevin), Ronny Drayton (The Hawker), Douglas Crawford, Daniel Guzman, Leah Seminario, Clifton Oliver, Erin Stoddard, John B Willaford, Kyle Vaughn, Salvatore Vassallo, Kim Lesley, Anna Schnaitter, Gakenia Muigai, Julius Anthony Rubio, Emmie Nagata, Jamie Joseph, Kelly Allen and Christina Harding.

The production, according to press notes, employs 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 creative team also includes musical director Dan Redfeld, choreographer Denise Leitner, scenic designer Brodie Alan Steele, lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg, costume designer Vandy Scoates and fight director John James Hickey.

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) 461-0663 or by visiting www.tix.com. For more information go to www.thewhostommy.com.

LJ Benet, Aleks Pevec, Anna Schniatter and Alice Ripley in <i>Tommy.</i>
LJ Benet, Aleks Pevec, Anna Schniatter and Alice Ripley in Tommy. (Photo by Ryan Miller)