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Who’s Pete Townshend pens two new songs for New Wolsey’s Tommy

PUBLISHED: 10:50 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:11 16 March 2017

The Who's songsmith Pete Townshend has penned two new songs for The New Wolsey's production of Tommy. Picture: Robert E. Klein

The Who's songsmith Pete Townshend has penned two new songs for The New Wolsey's production of Tommy. Picture: Robert E. Klein

Rock legend and The Who’s guitarist and lead songwriter Pete Townshend is so impressed and enthused by The New Wolsey Theatre’s production of his rock opera Tommy that he has penned two new songs to be included in the show.

Rehearsals for Tommy, by Pete Townshend, the co-production between the New Wolsey Theatre and Ramps on the Moon. Picture: RICHARD DAVENPORTRehearsals for Tommy, by Pete Townshend, the co-production between the New Wolsey Theatre and Ramps on the Moon. Picture: RICHARD DAVENPORT

A new version of Amazing Journey will open the show, and after her iconic Act One song Acid Queen, played by original West End cast member Peter Straker, will make a return in Act Two with a new torch song.

Tommy is part of Ramps On The Moon, a ground-breaking project being led across the UK by the New Wolsey, which signals a change in the UK’s disability arts provision, and Peter Straker will be joined on stage by an inclusive cast of Deaf and disabled and non-disabled actors including Lukus Alexander, Alim Jayda, Donna Mullings, Garry Robson, Max Runham, Amy Trigg, and William Grint in the title role. This new production, directed by Kerry Michael, will embark on a nationwide tour when it finishes its Ipswich run on April 15.

Pete Townshend said, “When I heard the there was a new planned production of Tommy, I was pleased of course. But, when I heard they planned to do a production featuring actors with disabilities of various kinds, that will actually throw new light on the original story, I became very excited. This is a totally new adventure, and really does refer back to my original story in which a young man, disabled by extreme trauma, finds his way to some kind of spiritual place because he can feel music. I can’t wait to see it.” The Who’s Tommy is an iconic rock opera which first saw thew light of day as a concept album released in 1969. Young Tommy witnesses the murder of his father by his mother’s lover, and is so traumatised that he chooses to stop communicating with the outside world. He grows up in post WWII England where he suffers abuse from relatives and others in the wider community. As an adolescent, Tommy’s life begins to change when he finds salvation in playing pinball…”

Ken Russell turned the album into a film in 1975 with a star studded cast including the likes of Tina Turner, Elton John and the band members themselves, before coming to the stage at the Queen’s Theatre in 1979. The Broadway revival in 1992 won five Tony awards and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

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