Ray of Light rocks ‘Tommy’

Ray of Light Theatre opened its ninth season of San Francisco community musicals with “The Who’s Tommy,” presenting the groundbreaking rock opera in all its glorious wackiness.

Nearly four decades after the tale of the fall and rise of a deaf, dumb and blind pinball player premiered, the show is as outrageous, puzzling and compelling as it was in rock ’n’ roll’s younger days.

Pete Townshend’s score (book by Des McAnuff), while uneven, has some great tunes: “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “I’m Free” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

The cast and hard-working musicians do them justice. Cleverly, the band — with Ben Prince and Brandi Brandes on keyboards, Sean Williams and Jack Hanlon on guitars, Michael Shiono on bass and Fred Johnson on drums — remains onstage throughout the show, boosting the “rock” in rock opera.

Zachary Franczak commands attention as the title character. When he’s joined by Deucalion Martin, playing Tommy at age 4, and David “Kelii” Kahawaii, Tommy at 10, they comprise the show’s most moving scenes.

Emily Wade Adams, Cameron Weston and Manuel Caneri nicely round out the cast as Tommy’s family — his far-from-perfect mom, dad and cousin, respectively, who are responsible for his wild predicament.

Director Shane Ray and music director Ben Prince give the production a wicked liveliness, assisted by choreographer Ellyn Marie Marsh.

Particularly effective lighting by Dustin Snyder and scenery by Angelo Benedetto exemplify the power of creativity.

lkatz@sfexaminer.com

 

THEATER REVIEW

The Who’s Tommy

Presented by Ray of Light Theatre

Where: Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; closes Nov. 7

Tickets: $25 to $36

Contact: www.tommysf.com  
 
 

artsentertainmentOther ArtsRay of Light Theatrethe who's tommy

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Lowell High School (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students, families call for culture shift at Lowell after racist incident

District to explore changes including possible revision of admissions policy

Alan Wong was among California National Guard members deployed to Sacramento to provide security the weekend before the presidential inauguration. (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Due to a lack of votes in his favor, record-holding former Giant Barry Bonds (pictured at tribute to Willie McCovey in 2018) will not be entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

San Francisco firefighter Keith Baraka has filed suit against The City alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation.<ins></ins>
Gay black firefighter sues city for discrimination

A San Francisco firefighter who says he was harassed and discriminated against… Continue reading

Most Read