Ali Louis Bourzgui (Company, The Band's Visit) will lead the upcoming Broadway revival of The Who's Tommy in the title role, reprising his performance from the revival's summer 2023 run at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Further casting will be revealed in the coming weeks.
As previously announced, the newly reimagined production of the rock opera will begin performances March 8, 2024, ahead of a March 28 opening night at the Nederlander Theatre. The work originally opened on Broadway in 1993, with a book by Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend of The Who, music and lyrics by Townshend, and direction by McAnuff. The pair have reunited to reimagine the story, with McAnuff returning to direct the new production.
Based on The Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy, the musical follows the young Tommy Walker. After witnessing his father shoot his rival, Walker is emotionally lost, and spends his time staring endlessly into the mirror. Then, an innate knack for pinball catapults him into celebrity status.
“In many ways, I think the world has caught up to Tommy Walker, which makes it exciting to revisit The Who’s Tommy for a new generation who, possibly more than any other, has a broad appetite for all kinds of music and storytelling,” McAnuff said in an earlier statement.
The creative team includes choreographer Lorin Latarro (Into the Woods), music supervisor Ron Melrose (Jersey Boys), musical director Rick Fox (Rent), set designer David Korins (Hamilton), projection designer Peter Nigrini (Here Lies Love), costume designer Sarafina Bush (for colored girls...), lighting designer Amanda Zieve (Escape to Margaritaville), sound designer Gareth Owen (Back to the Future), and wig and hair designer Charles LaPointe (Hamilton). The production also features additional music arrangements by Melrose, and additional orchestrations by Fox. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting's Merri Sugarman with additional Chicago casting by Lauren Port and Rachael Jimenez. Tripp Phillips is the production stage manager, and Bespoke Theatricals is general manager.
The original Broadway production of The Who's Tommy opened April 22, 1993, at the St. James Theatre, after beginning previews March 29. McAnuff had first staged the work in 1992 at California's La Jolla Playhouse, where he was artistic director, before the production moved to Broadway the following year.
This reimagined production played Chicago's Goodman Theatre in summer 2023, 30 years after its original Broadway bow. McAnuff directed at the Goodman as well.
Along with Bourzgui as Tommy Walker, the Chicago cast featured Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) as Captain Walker and Alison Luff (Waitress) as Mrs. Walker, along with John Ambrosino (Les Misérables) as Uncle Ernie, Bobby Conte (Company) as Cousin Kevin, and Christina Sajous (SpongeBob SquarePants) as the Acid Queen (a role credited as "The Gypsy" in earlier iterations of the musical).
McAnuff has been eyeing a return for The Who's Tommy since at least 2019, when a Broadway revival was announced to hit the stage in 2021. Those plans never materialized due to the pandemic.
This was not the first attempt to adapt Tommy for the stage. An early stage adaptation of Tommy premiered in 1971 in Seattle featuring Bette Midler as both the Acid Queen and Mrs. Walker. A screen version followed in 1975.
See photos from the revival's Chicago run below: