“Tommy,” directed by Arindam Krishna Das, will open at San Lorenzo Valley High School this weekend.
The rock opera based on The Who’s double album of the same name will be performed by students at the school.
The work is considered one of the cornerstones of rock and roll from the 1960s, with music enhanced by a depth of emotion that is presented by the actors through their characters.
“It’s about love and … what is that love,” said Das. “It’s based on the loving relationships of the characters, how separated they become from those loving relationships, and how separated they can become from that loving relationship with themselves.”
The theme isn’t the only thing that’s complex, Das said. Rock operas such as “Tommy” are often more challenging for actors than traditional plays, as they must be able to to act, sing and dance.
“Once their heart’s in it and they want to be doing it, and they’re loving the music and the parts they’re playing, it’s amazing,” Das said. “Their talent knows no bounds. It’s amazing what they can do.”
The students at SLV have been working hard to explore and develop each one of these areas, with help from others including Scott Kravitz, an acting coach, and Nadia Lewis, the choreographer.
Lewis enjoys working with the students, who suggested they will impress on stage.
“This show is not to be missed,” she said. “Not only are these students great dancers, they’re also great actors and singer. This musical is action-packed and has a deeper meaning: No matter what life brings you there is a lesson to be learned, and that lesson is love.”
There are 62 students working on the production, 31 of whom will perform.
Ryland Gordon, a senior who plays the older self of Tommy, the main character, said the work is becoming faster and smoother as the players wind down to final rehearsals.
“The people are always going to make it different, and they are always going to make it unique,” Gordon said.
Travis Gorham, the student who plays the younger Tommy, praised the story itself.
“The part where Tommy goes dumb, deaf and blind is really neat,” Gorham said.
Das said those who attend should be ready for an epic show.
“This will be an unforgettable, cathartic, rocking, theatrical experience,” Das said.
At a glance
What: “Tommy,” based on “The Who’s Tommy”
When: Feb. 15, 16, 21-23 and March 1-3. All showings 7 p.m., except 2 p.m. on Sundays
Where: SLV Performing Arts Center,. 7105 Highway 9 in Felton
Cost: $15 general, $10 students and seniors, $9 with ASB. All tickets on Feb. 21 are $9.
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