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Monday, June 10, 2019

Pioneer Productions to present 'The Who’s Tommy- The Original Rock Opera' at Fair Lawn Community Center


Pioneer Productions will present The Who’s Tommy- The Original Rock Opera July 5-7 and 12-14 at The George Fry Center for the Arts at the Fair Lawn Community Center. The production is directed by Douglas McLaughlin with Choreography by Jon Mantes and musical direction by Bruce De La Cruz. Originally a concept album then a movie then a Broadway show Tommy’s story of an insensate boy’s journey from isolation & abuse to heroic connection and triumph has endured for half a century. 

The music of The Who & Tommy in particular has made a lasting impression on the cast as a whole, especially Dave Murgittroyd who plays the title role. He was in the audience for The Who’s 50th Anniversary tour and vividly recalls Pete Townsend’s words between songs. According to Murgittroyd, “he said the things these bands today don’t realize, is that an album is supposed to tell a story. It shouldn’t just be a few songs randomly ordered based on what song is most popular. Albums need to tell a story.”  Murgittroyd adds, “This music has been a part of my life for a long time and I feel lucky to bring this story to life in my own way.”

For the show’s director, Douglas McLaughlin Tommy’s journey has resonance across cultures and generations. “Last summer, I saw Roger Daltrey and his band perform the new orchestral arrangement of Tommy with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra at the Mann Center in Philadelphia. There were 12,000 fans from toddler to octogenarian experiencing this 50 year old rock opera with a level of emotion and connection that was unmistakable and deeply moving.” Most exciting of all according to McLaughlin was watching as this diverse audience,  “found a part of themselves in the music. I’m hopeful that those who attend our production will connect in a similar way.”

Tommy will be the company’s final show at the George Frey Center for the Arts at the Fairlawn Community Center. As of September they will be moving their base of operations to Morris County. Their 2020 production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” will be in Morristown’s Bickford Theatre in the Morris Museum. Other events for the remainder of the 2019 and 2020 seasons will occur at various venues throughout the town. According to Artistic Director, Dan Vissers, “we’ve loved being at the George Frey Center for the Arts, but we’ve felt very strongly for a while now that there was a real need for the type of theatre we do in Morris County. We are eagerly looking forward to exploring new possibilities there.”

Pioneer’s production of The Who’s Tommy runs July 5th , 6th , 12th , and 13th  at 8:00 PM and the 7th and 14th at 3:00 PM at the George Frey Center for the Arts at the Fair Lawn Community Center, 10-10 20th st. Fair Lawn, NJ 07410. Tickets are $25 and may be obtained at www.tommy2019.brownpapertickets.com .




Cast photo by Denise Medve for Penguinmoon Studio






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