September 28, 2020

2015-01-19 – Chicago Tribune

2015 01 19 Chicago_Tribune_Mon__Jan_19__2015_

LIZ LAUREN PHOTO

Devin DeSantis conveys the vulnerability of the pinball icon in The Who’s rock opera, “Tommy," directed by Jim Corti at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

IN PERFORMANCE ‘The Who’s Tommy’ *ivk 1/ 2

Window into The Who

Paramount
Theatre’s new
production yields
fresh insights
into the band’s
rock opera

BY CHRIS J ONES
Tribune critic

In the summer of 1968, Pete
Townshend gave a lengthy
interview to J ann Wenner of
Rolling Stone about the future
direction of The Who, Town-
shend’s rock band. “We’ve been
talking about doing an opera,”
he said. “VVe’ve been talking

about doing, like, albums, we’ve
been talking about a whole lot
of things and What has basically
happened is that we’ve con—
densed all of those ideas, all
this energy and all those gim-
micks into one j uicy package.
The package I hope is going to
be called ‘Deaf, Dumb and
Blind Boy.’ ”

That j uicy package, which

became “Tommy,” was a rock
opera — except that term
hadn’t really been coined yet.
And in that same interview,
Townshend outlined the plot
very much in symbolic terms,
describing how The Who
would play a character Who
saw things as Vibrations, and
how the music might create
Tommy’s feelings so intensely

you actually become aware of
the boy. If you go and see
“Tommy” at the Paramount
Theatre in Aurora — and if you
are a Who fan, you really
should — and then read the
interview, you’ll recognize the
plot (Townshend later said he
regretted recounting it in such

Turn to The Who, Page 5