Full casting is announced today for The Who’s Tommy, which will play a limited run at Greenwich Theatre from Wednesday 29 July to Sunday 23 August. The production comes 20 years after Tommy was last seen in London, marking the 40th Anniversary of the original film and the 50th Anniversary of The Who.


The title role of Tommy will be played by Ashley Birchall (Starlight Express, Germany), with the cast also featuring John Barr (Sweeney Todd at ENO, Les Misérables) as Uncle Ernie, Carly Burns as Acid Queen, James Sinclair (Duncton Wood, Union Theatre) as Captain Walker, Giovanni Spanó (Dance ‘til Dawn, Mamma Mia!) as Cousin Kevin, Carrie Sutton (The Wizard of Oz, Sister Act) as Sally Simpson and Miranda Wilford (Thriller Live) as Mrs Walker. The cast also includes Danny Becker (Follies at Royal Albert Hall) Scott Sutcliffe (Mamma Mia!) Alice Mogg (We Will Rock You, Grease).


The full creative team is also announced today, completed by choreographer Mark Smith. Mark is the founder and artistic director of Deaf Men Dancing, an innovative all-male dance company of dancers and choreographers who, like Mark, are deaf. Mark’s choreography credits include My Silent World (Channel 4 Random Acts in association with BalletBoyz); Noah (Chichester Festival Theatre); The 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony (Olympic Stadium); Reasons To Be Cheerful (Graeae Theatre & UK Tour); The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Shoes as co-choreographer (Sadler’s Wells & Peacock Theatre).


Based on the iconic 1969 double-album rock opera, which later became a film of the same title, The Who’s Tommy is an exhilarating musical about hope, healing, and the human spirit. 


After witnessing the accidental murder of his mother’s lover by his father, Tommy is traumatized into catatonia, and as the boy grows, he suffers abuse at the hands of his sadistic relatives and neighbours. But as an adolescent, he is discovered to have an uncanny knack for playing pinball, a talent that breaks through his catatonia and puts him on the path to international superstardom. The story of the pinball-playing, deaf, dumb and blind boy who triumphs over his adversities has inspired and amazed audiences for more than 40 years. 


The five-time Tony Award, four-time Drama Desk Award and three-time Olivier Award winning musical was translated to the stage by director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) and The Who’s Pete Townshend into a high-energy, one-of-a-kind theatrical event. This brand new production, the first London revival in 19 years, will mark the 40th Anniversary of the original film and the 50th Anniversary of The Who. 



The Who’s Tommy is staged and directed by award-winning director Michael Strassen with choreography by Mark Smith, musical direction by Kevin Oliver Jones, design by Nik Corral and lighting design by David Howe. It is produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Guy James, and Ilai Szpiezak for Szpiezak Productions in association with Greenwich Theatre, by special arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York. The Who’s Tommy has Music and Lyrics by Pete Townshend and Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff, with Additional Music and Lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon.



Press Night: Friday 31st July, 7.30pm

Performances: Tuesday – Sunday 7.30pm, Saturday 3.00pm (No perfs 2/4 August)

Tickets: £25, £20 (Concessions), £15 (Previews) 

Box Office 020 8858 7755 | http://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk





Michael Strassen | Director

Michael trained at the Guildford School of Acting. On graduating he joined the original cast of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He then worked for twenty five years in numerous West End Shows, leading repertory theatre and number one tours.

Directing credits at the Union Theatre include: Pacific Overtures, Season’s Greetings, the first London revival of Billy (Best Director/Off West End Awards 2014), Call Me Madam, The Fix, The Baker’s Wife and Godspell, Assassins (Best Production/Off-West End Awards) and Company.

Other credits include: Lucky Numbers (Customs House, Tyneside), S&S Awards (St James Theatre), An Intimate evening with Ruthie Henshall (Hippodrome, London), The Inspiration Awards 2010 – 2013(Cadagon Hall, London and Royce Hall, Los Angeles), The Wit and Whimsy of Alexander S. Bermange (St James’ Theatre Studio), Pineapple Dance Studios Finale (O2 Indigo), The Attic (Workshop/Theatre Royal, Haymarket), Co-Musical Supervisor on the film The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Company (C Venues/Edinburgh Festival), The Pitchfork Disney (Philip Ridley/The Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud) and Ruthie Henshall at The Royal Festival Hall.


Mark Smith | Choreographer

Mark is the founder and artistic director Deaf Men Dancing, an innovative all-male dance company of dancers and choreographers who, like Mark, are deaf. Mark’s choreography credits include My Silent World (Channel 4 Random Acts in association with BalletBoyz); Die Fledermaus (Oslo Opera House); Call Me Madam (Union Theatre); Noah (Chichester Festival Theatre); The 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony (Olympic Stadium); A Marvellous Year For Plums (Chichester Festival Theatre); Reasons To Be Cheerful (Graeae Theatre & UK Tour); The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Chichester Festival Theatre)vand Shoes as co-choreographer (Sadler’s Wells & Peacock Theatre).


Kevin Oliver Jones | Musical Director

Work as Musical Director includes: Elvis – The Musical, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, Thriller – Live!, Rock and Roll Heaven, Harry’s Webb, Jailhouse Rock – The Musical, Summer Holiday, Dancing in the Streets and Jesus Christ Superstar.  

Work as an actor includes: The Roy Orbison Story, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Blood Brothers, Four Steps to Heaven and Come Dancing.


Nik Corrall | Design


Most recently Nik designed Hamlet & A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Handlebards UK Tour); Portia Coughlan & The Verb, to Love (Old Red Lion); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Dying For It, A Clockwork Orange (Royal & Derngate); Whistle Down the Wind, Times Square Angel & Girlfriends (Union Theatre). Other designs include: Love and Information, Animal Farm (Royal & Derngate); Mucky Kid (Theatre 503); The Mercy Seat (Pleasance, London); Gelt (ETC Theatre); Goldilocks (Brockley Walled Garden); Once On This Island (Cockpit); The Death of Tintagel, The Fever (People Show); Bluey (Battersea Art Centre), Sense and Sensibility, Respect, Buy Nothing Day, Oliver Twist, Women of Troy, Under The Concrete Waiting, Caucasian Chalk Circle, David Copperfield, The Tell Tale Heart (ALRA Theatre). Film and TV credits include 10 O’Clock Live (Channel 4/ Zeppetron) and Miriam (Esther Hegarty).


David Howe | Lighting Design


Recent work includes – An Audience with Jimmy Savile and Dead Sheep, Park Theatre, McQueen, St James Theatre, Matchbox Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Clarion, Arcola Theatre. West End Lighting Design credits include: Quatermaine’s Terms ; Bette & Joan, Birdsong, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Sweet Charity, Mrs Warren’s Profession, Private Lives, A Christmas Carol, The Norman Conquests, The Last Five Years and Tick Tick Boom, Maria Friedman Re-Arranged, Rent, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Pageant, Forbidden Broadway,. Sweet Charity, Maria Friedman, La Cage aux Folles, Take Flight and The Last Five Years.

Broadway credits; Private Lives, The Norman Conquests Trilogy and Primo.

UK Regional Theatre–The Curing Room, Pleasance London and Edinburgh, Love me Do, Watford Palace, The Sweet Smell of Success, Arcola Theatre, Sisters, Crucible Theatre Sheffield, Productions at Coventry Belgrade. Pantomimes across UK, for First Family Entertainment and Qudos-including Wimbledon, Milton Keynes and Liverpool Empire. UK National tours include: Bette and Joan, Chin Chin, 42nd Street, The Man from Stratford, Oklahoma, Little Shop of Horrors, Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Our House, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Me and My Girl and Carousel.


Pete Townshend | Book, Music and Lyrics

Pete Townshend was a member of The Who from 1962-82; the group’s first recording was in 1964. He has written hundreds of songs, many of which have been chart hits. He has written and composed several major collections that have won international recognition; Tommy is the best known. Awarded the Ivor Novello Award by his songwriter peers in 1981 and the British Phonograph Industry Award in 1983 for service to the British music industry. In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He has been nominated for two Grammys and an Academy Award (for the Tommy film score). He has most recently been honoured with the 1993 Tony Award for Best Original Score for Tommy on Broadway. Recordings with The Who (1965-82): My Generation; Who’s Next; Tommy and Quadrophenia (rock operas). Solo (1980-89): Empty Glass, Chinese Eyes, White City and Iron Man.

Publications: The Story of Tommy (with Richard Barnes) and Horse’s Neck. Active as a songwriter, performer and producer, he continues to work as an editor at Faber and Faber, which he joined in 1983. Married, with three children, he lives in Twickenham, England.


Des McAnuff | Book

Des McAnuff received Tony Awards for his Broadway stagings of Big River and The Who’s Tommy. He also directed Lee Blessings’ A Walk in the Woods and Jersey Boys on Broadway. He is Director-in-Residence of the La Jolla Playhouse where he was Artistic Director from its 1983 revival until 1994, during which time the theatre won more than 200 awards for excellence. For the Playhouse, he directed Romeo and Juliet, A Mad World, My Masters, Big River, As You Like It, The Sea Gull, The Matchmaker, A Walk in the Woods, Two Rooms, 80 Days, Macbeth, A Funny Thing Happened…Forum, Twelfth Night, Three Sisters, Elmer Gantry, Much Ado About Nothing, The Who’s Tommy and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. McAnuff’s play Leave It to Beaver Is Dead was produced in Toronto and NY City, receiving the SoHo Arts Award.

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