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Arts at ASU to Present The Who’s ‘Tommy’

October 04, 2012

Angelo State University’s Arts at ASU program will present the iconic musical “Tommy,” based on The Who’s 1969 rock opera album, on the newly renovated ASU Auditorium stage beginning Friday, Oct. 12.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 12-13 and 19-20, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.  Tickets are $8 for the general public, $4 for non-ASU students and $3 for ASU students.  Admission is free for Arts at ASU subscribers and ASU activity card holders.  The ASU Auditorium is located in the Mayer Administration Building, 2601 W. Ave. N.

The musical is derived from a 1975 British film based on the album, but will not follow the movie script, said director Michael Burnett, assistant professor of drama and assistant director of the ASU Theatre.

“I knew the musical going into it,” he said, “but I wasn’t really a big fan of the movie.  I liked it, but it wasn’t something I listened to a whole lot.  It is way different than the Broadway musical, and it is even different from the first album.  The song order is different, so we decided early on not to try to emulate that.”

As the play opens in 1940 London, the story traces the life of a young boy who sees his mother’s lover killed by his father and goes “deaf, dumb and blind.”  After much abuse and bullying, Tommy goes to a youth club where his pinball wizardry surfaces.

Tommy regains his senses when a mirror he has stared into for years is smashed.  His pinball fame increases and he turns his back on his family until his younger self reaches him and he embraces his family again.

The ASU set will include a big pinball machine and a couple others, and a live rock band with a French horn will play on the stage rather than in the orchestra pit.

Three actors of different ages will play Tommy.  Wade Noelke, grandson of longtime ASU history professor Virginia Noelke, will play 4-year-old Tommy, Wyatt Waters will play Tommy at 10 years old, and ASU theatre student, “Chito” Hernandez will play the older Tommy.

Other cast members include Jamie Westfall as Mrs. Walker, Christian Rios as Captain Walker, Lance Turner as Uncle Ernie, Jacob Scott as Cousin Kevin, Trey Smith as a specialist/minister, Moran Slaughter as a specialist/assistant, Heather Walker as the minister’s wife, Leigha Murrah as Gypsy, Tyler Guthrie as Pinball Wizard Local Lad 1, Griffin Kent as Pinball Wizard Local Lad 2, Nicole McDonald as Sally Simpson, Trey Lowery as Mr. Simpson and Second Officer, Felicia Holland as Mrs. Simpson, Hardy Berber as Hawker/First Allied Soldier and Brandon Moss as Lover/First Officer.

Eldra Sanford is the University Theatre’s costumer and Matt Smith is the technical director. Student assistants are Elizabeth Holland and Jonathan Anderson, stage managers; Jacob Scott and Joselyn Limardo, dance captains; Brandon Jones, master electrician/light board operator; Jose Villedas, electrician/spot operations; Trent Edgecomb, assistant sound technician; Brooke Addison, properties manager; Amber Horton, wardrobe manager; Cassie Trautman, assistant wardrobe/dresser; Tyler Tennell and Andrea Chavaria, dressers; Martin Rodriguez, master carpenter/flyman/stage right crew chief; Tiana Sefcik, stage left crew chief; and Katie Hejl, house manager. 

Reservations can be made by calling the ASU box office at 325-942-2000 weekdays from 2-6 p.m. For more information, call the ASU theatre program at 325-942-2146.

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ASU Theatre Program
325-942-2146

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