September 23, 2020

2012-02-24 – The Tennessean

2012 02 24 The_Tennessean_Fri__Feb_24__2012_

Simplified ‘Tommy’
is full—throttle gem

By Amy Stumpfl

For The Tennessean

The premise behind
Street Theatre Company’s
wildly successful “In Con—
cert” series is simple
enough: Take a show that
would normally be too cost-
ly and complicated to

mount full-scale, and pro-
vide a stripped-down stag-
ing that focuses on the mu-
sic and story.

But rest assured, there’s
nothing stripped down
about the sound or enter-
tainment value of STC’s
current production of The
Who’s Tommy in Concert.
Once again, Artistic Direc-
tor Cathy Street delivers a

complex and rarely pro-
duced gem with tremen-

dous style.

In fact, Pete Town-
shend’s rock musical —

which centers on a “deaf,
dumb and blind kid” who
rises to fame as a “Pinball
Wizard” — actually bene-
fits from STC’s intimate
venue. With 21 cast mem-
bers, including plenty of
fresh faces, and an abso-
lutely stellar eight-piece
band, this Tommy simply
rocks the house.

I’ve seen Michael Hold-
er perform before, but
nothing quite prepared me
for his marvelous turn in
the title role. He takes us

along on Tommy’s strange

REVIEW

journey from tragedy to
triumph, revealing his
character through power-
ful vocals and subtle emo-
tions in “I’m Free,” “Sensa-
tion” and “See Me, Feel
Me.”

Holly Shepherd also is
terrific as Tommy’s moth-
er, Mrs. Walker. Her voice
is beautiful throughout the
show, but when she cuts
loose in Act II’s “Smash the
Mirror,” it’s electrifying.

Ben Van Diepen lends
his gorgeous tenor to the
role of Captain Walker, and
he shares a believable
chemistry with Shepherd.
Their heartfelt duet, “I Be-
lieve My Own Eyes,” is a
highlight.

John C. Taylor is appro-
priately campy and creepy
as Tommy’s abusive Uncle
Ernie, and his rendition of
“Tommy’s Holiday Camp”
is surprisingly effective —
even without all the carni-
val-like trappings of the
original musical and film.
And Daniel Bissell is fan-
tastic as the demented
Cousin Kevin. His scorch-
ing delivery of “Pinball
Wizard” is dazzling, and I
look forward to seeing
much more of this young
man on the local stage.

Other standouts include
Saaneah Jamison, who
channels her inner Tina

star in Street Theatre Company's "In Concert" production of
The Who's classic Tommy. HEAVENLY PERSPECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

Turner as the funky Acid
Queen. And Dalton Tilgh-
man and Rowan McCoy are
delightful as the younger
Tommys.

It seems terribly unfair
to single out anyone from
this superb ensemble. Each

individual finds a way to
shine, connecting with the
opening—night audience
with energy and exuber-
ance.

Lynda Cameron-Bayer’s
steampunk costumes lend
a timeless, yet somewhat
twisted quality, and Steven
Steele’s lights are well-exe-
cuted.

Musical Director Rollie
Mains plays keyboards and
leads the brilliant orches-
tra, which includes Ben
Bruce and Jeff Rogers on
guitars, Randy Craft and
Kelsi Fulton on keyboards,
JJ Street on drums, Luke
Easterling on bass, and
Harry Ditzel on French
horn. Even if nothing was

IF YOU GO

What: Street Theatre Compa—
ny presents The Who's Tom-
myin Concert

When: Through Sunday.
Performances are at 8 pm.
Friday; 2 and 8 pm. Saturday
and 5 pm. Sunday

Where: 1933 Elm Hill Pike,
Nashville

Tickets: $14—$1 6

Contact:
www.streettheatrecompany.
org or 615-554-7414

happening onstage, these
musicians could carry the
evening just fine.

But something most
definitely is happening on
stage at Street Theatre
Company, and it runs this
weekend only. Whether
you’re a die—hard fan of The
Who’s music or you simply
want a sneak peek at some
of the area’s hottest new
talent, you won’t want to
miss Tommy in Concert.