Good morning, everyone! Your friend here is still experiencing the aftermath of TOMMY’s astounding opening night on Saturday. The entire opening week astonished with the audience response of cheers and spontaneous standing ovations. I swear there is a frequency, a wave of energy, at intermission and at the finale of the show I simply have never witnessed before. Never have I ever seen anything quite like it. The buzz is an exhilaration I think that stems from what most are perceiving as an upbeat ending of what they expected to be a very sad story. And they are correct! Of course mostly everyone remembers with a heartfelt nostalgia The Who’s original album which many still know the words to. But to those who do not, I think they are finding an elation in the themes of the piece, subliminal as they may be, concerning how terror and horror and all that is tragic can bring about a Light in us, a Higher Self, that we all have right within ourselves. As a race human, we are gifted with this to survive, prevail and continue our purpose here. It’s a “Rock On” kind of story written by a rock musician trying to express his self-discovery on a spiritual level. The Rock World is not a sane world. Rock music is about how insane and sick, crazy & wild life and love gets for some of us. And as to its relevancy, are we not living in an insane world as it is?! Directing it, I was hopeful not to be too heavy handed with this spiritual theme, but for heaven’s sake, there are more spiritual references in this production than perhaps any production of TOMMY that you will ever see. People have expressed it to me as: ” I didn’t expect to leave feeling so good for such a depressing story.” Of course no one says the word “spiritual.” No one. Very interesting to me. The word is not a part of our conversation as a people. I think it must get confused with Religion. But one of the big messages in Pete Townshend’s work for me is: “Sickness will surely take the mind where minds can’t usually go. Come on the amazing journey and learn all you should know.” Senseless bad stuff happens to put you on the path you are here on this earth to learn from. Crimes are not forgiven in TOMMY. “Tommy” forgives his uncle and his cousin and his mother and father with his arms around them, looking into their eyes. It’s his personal path…his Light that he has discovered from his tragic childhood. It’s this Higher Self within us that brings us to Light in the darkest times. At least, that is my humble interpretation of all the contrivances in this piece. I am no scholar. No intellectual. I’m just a little ol’ blue-collar, Italian-Catholic gay boy from New Jersey. But I’ve been looking for the truth in myself and in all of us and in the writers whose work it is my job to serve. The grand finale sings:
LISTENING TO YOU, I GET THE MUSIC;
GAZING AT YOU, I GET THE HEAT.
FOLLOWING YOU, I CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN.
I GET EXCITEMENT AT YOUR FEET.
RIGHT BEHIND YOU, I SEE THE MILLIONS;
ON YOU, I SEE THE GLORY.
FROM YOU, I GET OPINIONS;
FROM YOU, I GET THE STORY.
Yup. It’s all within YOU. I hope you will come to Paramount and share with this audience, this tale of TOMMY.
My love & thanks,