Wilkes University Theater presents: ‘The Who’s Tommy’

Jonathan Bowman

Ongelique McGuire and Dominick Costantino, Correspondents

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Wilkes University Theatre brings The Who’s Tommy to the stage of the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center this November.

The Who’s Tommy is based on The Who’s original 1969 album about the amazing pinball wizard. The musical, written by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuffl, is about a young boy who witnesses a traumatizing event, which puts him in a state of catatonia where he cannot see, hear, or speak, yet finds his calling in a game of pin ball. The rock-opera takes the audience through all of Tommy’s life from age 4 to 20, and shows that no matter the circumstances, one can always be triumphant.

The musical is under the direction of Teresa Fallon, director of visual and performing arts at Wilkes, with musical direction by Ken McGraw, adjunct music instructor. The musical stars musical theatre majors Jamie Alderiso as Tommy, Kelly Pleva as Mrs. Walker, Luke Brady as Cousin Kevin, Cassidy Conroy as Uncle Ernie and William Michael McGovern as Lover.

Pleva, sophomore musical theatre major, plays Tommy’s mother Mrs. Walker. Her role and the show itself are different from anything she has done in the past.

“Since the show spans over 40 years, it’s a challenge to keep my character interesting as we move through the years as I age on stage. It’s a lot to think about at times,” she said. “Also, Tommy  is a high energy show that doesn’t slow its pace through the entire performance. Since Tommy is a rock opera, the audience gets musical number after musical number to keep them on their toes and really draw them in to the performance.”

Cast members rehearse six days a week for about four hours a day. They each prepare for their roles by doing thorough character work, breaking down their given character and figuring out who they are. They also do a lot of research about their characters in order to play their roles to the fullest.

In addition to the show’s high energy and  variety of musical numbers, it also offers a valuable lesson.

“Tragedy does not have to define your entire life. I think this is a lesson that everyone can take away from this show” said Alderiso, sophomore theatre major and lead in the show.

Ticket prices are 15 dollars for the general public and 7 dollars for students and senior citizens. Wilkes students, faculty and staff will receive free admission with their Wilkes University ID.

“Whether you come to see Tommy because you like musicals, or because you like The Who, you are bound to like the show and have a great time watching us,” said Pleva.

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