September 21, 2020

1996-01-24 – The Orlando Sentinel

1996 01 24 The_Orlando_Sentinel_Wed__Jan_24__1996_

‘Tommy’
music
lacking
in soul

E] The show did have a few
redeeming pomts: some
colorful scenes and the
seamy Uncle Ernie.

By Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor
or me ssmma STAFF
_

The Who’s Tommy should have
been named The Who Sell Out,
after the concept album Pete
Townshend wrote shortly after
finishing Tommy.

Townshend, The Who’s creative
force, must be laughing all the

w a y to t h e
bank as he de-

posits the cash

rolling in from
this tarted-up imitation of a rock
concert.

But despite the fact that this
Who fan did not like the over-am-
plifled but strangely soulless mu-
sic, there are some good points in
the show, making it worth going
to see as long as you don’t expect
the power of The Who’s original
music.

The musical,p1aying at the Carr
Performing Arts Centre for the
next few days, is based on Town-
shend’s rock opera about a British
boy who goes deaf, dumb and
blind and then becomes a “Pinball
Wizar .”

The first 10 minutes or so is an
inventive procession of images
projected on a huge transparent
screen, including flights of bomb—
ers and cascading parachutes.

Tommy’s isolation is caused
when he witnesses his war-hero
father murder his mother’s war-
time lover.

BIG LEAGUE THEATRICALS

Michael Seelbach and Shorey Walker perform in ‘The Who’s Tommy.’
Seelbach‘s voice was good, but his dancing was 1-dimensuonal.

“You didn’t see it. You didn’t
hear it,” the parents sing to little
Tommy in an emotional scene ear-
ly in the show.

Tommy is performed by three
actors, all dressed in stark white:
Derek Dymek is endearing as

Tommy at 4; Matthew Williams is
quite moving as Tommy at 10, en-

during the sexual and physical
abuse of his nasty Uncle Ernie
and thug of a cousin Kevin; and
Michael Seelbach is the grown-up
Tommy.

Seelbach has a lovely voice, but
his dancing, or at least the chore-
ography, is rather onedimension-
31, consisting primarily of pelvic
thrusts and air punches.

Erika Greene gives a sympa-
thetic performance as Mrs. Wal-
ker, Tommy’s earnest mother, and
Captain Walker is played by Mi-
chael J . Vergoth.

Tommy’s parents’ search for a
cure for their son results in a
number of colorful scenes. In the
hospital, doctors and nurses
dressed in vibrant colors appear
magically on stage from behind
screens. In a church, the choir
members do a wonderfully choreo~

Fast facts

WHAT: The Who's Tommy, pre-
sented by the Orlando Broad-

way Series.
WHEN: 8 pm. today-Saturday.
2 pm. Thursday. Saturday and

Sunday.

WHERE: Carr Performing Arts
Centre, 401 W. Livingston St,
Orlando.

TICKETS: $26.50-$43. at Ticket-
master outlets, (407) 839-3900.

sing for Tommy. In a back alley.
pimps and prostitutes slither
across the stage to the tune of
“Eyesight to the Blind" as Tom-
my’s father takes him to visit Tra-
cey Lee’s rather overdone Acid
Queen.

The seamy Uncle Ernie, per-
formed deliciously by Rob Kra-
henbuhl, has two of the best num~
bers in the show, “Fiddle About"
and “Tommy‘s Holiday Camp."
The musical contains such Who
classics as “Pinball Wizard," “I‘m
Free,” “Tommy Can You Hear
Me" and “We‘re Not Going To

graphed dance as they line up to Take It.”