posted by June 6 at 15:46 PMon
Apparently, I fucked up on my review of Tommy at Issaquah’s Village Theater.
But come on, who knew that some band called the Who (kinda of a cool name anyway) originally did this in 1969? I mean, how can you expect someone to know about some hippie rock album from nearly 40 years ago?
Anyway, these letters just in:
I am so confused by Josh Feit’s article Baby Bomber, where he calls the performance of Tommy performed in Issaquah a “world premier” and talks about how the soundtrack sounds like radiohead. Ummm…Tommy was written in 1969 by The Who, and was translated into both a movie (1975) and a stage musical (1992). We performed it at my highschool. You can buy the soundtrack on Amazon. I love the Stranger, but this just seems crazy. Josh, if you are reading this, there are no Iraq metaphors because the music was written forty years ago, and it’s bizarre and has weird shit about pinball because they were probably all on acid when they wrote it. As to why it sounds like a mix between Queen and Radiohead…I don’t know. —Anna Berentsen
Dear Josh: I must admit that I don’t often agree with The Stranger’s reviews, but I do appreciate the fact that they’re usually written with strong convictions and an educated perspective of the piece in question. Your recent review of Village Theatre’s production of The Who’s Tommy, however, seems to have all of the former and none of the latter.
The show is described in the secondary headline as a “World-Premiere Musical” and in the first paragraph as “a new musical premiering at the Village Theatre”, but this stage version premiered on Broadway in 1993 and won five Tonys. You say that the show’s numbers are “derivative of Radiohead, with flourishes of Hendrix and Queen”, but nowhere in the article do you mention that this is Pete Townshend’s own adaptation of The Who’s 1969 rock opera album. While the show adds a new song, rearranges the track order, and includes several new or rewritten lyrics, the majority of the music is left pretty much alone. Perhaps this is the reason you feel the music is “mired in rock cliches” - some would argue that The Who were a bit influential in creating several of those cliches. And while your criticism that the production lacks any allegories to modern times may be fair, dismissing the concepts and themes of the show as “tired baby-boomer touchstones [dredged up for] self-indulgent Issaquah hippies” only underlines your ignorance of the show’s origins. It’s like wondering why Shakespeare had to write so damn much about royalty.
Hate the show if you want, but at least do some of your basic homework before showing up at the theatre. And shame on the drama phags and so-called music lovers on The Stranger’s editorial board for not catching this before it went to print. —Matty Worth
Yeah, shame on my editors for not catching this. The nerve.
Sanity from Fnarf. This comment just in:
I thought it was hilarious. Not knowing who the Who is or what Tommy was is the funniest thing Josh has ever written. Zoom zoom, over their heads. It’s not like there weren’t hints all the way through the piece. I mean, c’mon, Josh has posted Who video clips to the Slog before. Posted by Fnarf | June 6, 2007 5:09 PM
He’s right, I have posted Who clips b4.