East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color in the country and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, continues its 50th anniversary season with “The Who’s Tommy.”
With music and lyrics by Pete Townshend, book by Townshend and Des McAnuff, and additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon, the musical was originally produced on Broadway by Pace Theatrical Group and Dodger Productions with Kardana Productions.
The EWP production is directed by Snehal Desai (EWP’s “A Nice Indian Boy”) with musical direction by Marc Macalintal (EWP’s “Chess,” “Krunk Fu Battle Battle”) and choreography by Janet Roston (Ovation Award and NAACP Award winner for “The Color Purple” at Celebration Theatre). Generous support for this production is provided by the S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players.
The cast features Joseph Morales (“In the Heights” Broadway and national tour, “Bombay Dreams” on Broadway) as Tommy; Deedee Magno Hall (“If/Then” on Broadway, “Miss Saigon” Broadway and international tour, “Wicked” first national tour) as Mrs. Walker; Cliffton Hall (“Miss Saigon” on Broadway, first national tour and international tour, “Wicked” first national tour) as Captain Walker; and Parvesh Cheena (NBC’s “Outsourced”) as Uncle Ernie.
Also featured are Araceli Prasarttongosoth, Van Brunelle, Michayla Brown, Ryan Castellino, Cesar Cipriano, Cailan Rose, Constance Jewell Lopez, Maxwel Corpuz, Michael Daniel Dashefsky, Christine De Chavez, Caitlyn Calfas, Marius Beltran and Tina Nguyen.
Deprived of sight, hearing and speech by the shock of what he had witnessed as a child, young Tommy Walker seems lost to life – until he reveals an uncanny talent for the game of pinball. When his lost senses are suddenly restored, Tommy is hailed as a living miracle. The classic rock musical arrives for the first time at EWP in an electrifying new production.
“We are thrilled to produce ‘The Who’s Tommy’ on this auspicious occasion of EWP’s 50th anniversary because The Who is also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year,” says Tim Dang, producing artistic director. “This cast represents the diverse landscape of America today and has talent that will knock your socks off. This production will bring a unique sound and look like no other production of ‘Tommy.’”
The production team includes: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, set design; Jenny Foldenauer, costume design; Karyn Lawrence, lighting design; Cricket Meyers, sound design; Sean Cawelti, projections design; and Marissa Bergman, props. Stage manager is Ondina V. Dominguez.
All performances will be staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts, at 120 Judge John Aiso St. (between Temple and First streets) in Little Tokyo.
Previews are Thursday, May 7, through Saturday, May 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 10, at 2 p.m. All preview seats are $28.
Opening Night is Wednesday, May 13, at 8 p.m. and includes a 7 p.m. pre-performance cocktail reception, and a post-show reception with the cast and creative team. Call theater for availability.
“Pay-What-You-Can” performance is on Thursday, May 14, at 8 p.m. A special talkback with the cast and creative team is on Sunday, May 24, immediately following the performance. The production runs until June 7.
Regular performances run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at http://eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213) 625-7000. Regular tickets range from $43-58. Student and senior discounts available. Dates, prices and details are subject to change.