The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’ will return to Broadway in 2021

Helmed by original director Des McAnuff

The Who’s rock opera Tommy will return to Broadway in 2021, more than 25 years since its original run.

The new version of Tommy will be directed by Des McAnuff, who also helmed the original 1993-1995 production, Rolling Stone reports. In a press release, McAnuff described the new Tommy as “a reinvention aimed directly at today”.

He added, “Tommy combines myth and spectacle in a way that truly soars. The key question with any musical is ‘Does the story sing?’ and this one most certainly does.”


The Tommy musical, with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend, is based on The Who’s landmark 1969 double album of the same name. Its titular protagonist is a deaf, dumb and blind victim of abuse who grows up to become a pinball expert and spiritual leader.

“Tommy is the antihero ground zero,” McAnuff said of the character. “He is the boy who not only rejects adulthood like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye, but existence itself. He becomes lost in the universe as he stares endlessly and obsessively into the mirror at his own image. This gives our story a powerful resonance today as it seems like the whole world is staring into the black mirror.

“The story of Tommy exists all too comfortably in the 21st century. In fact, time may finally have caught up to Tommy Walker.”

The revival of Tommy is produced by Hal Luftig and Patrick Catullo. A venue and exact dates for its new run on Broadway have yet to be announced, though an official website and newsletter have been set up.

In June, Roger Daltrey marked the 50th anniversary of the ‘Tommy’ album by releasing an orchestral version of the LP, recorded in collaboration with composer and arranger David Campbell.


The Who are due to release a new album, simply titled ‘Who’, on November 22. It will be their first new album in 13 years. They will also embark on a UK tour in March 2020.