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5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘The Who’s Tommy’’s Stephen Gabriel and Ira Pittelman

The revival’s producers on why they brought the musical back to Broadway and how they attract audiences.

(L-R) Ira Pittleman and Stephen Gabriel attend the 77th Annual Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Event at Sofitel New York on May 02, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

When the original production of “The Who’s Tommy,” burst onto Broadway it brought the form of a rock opera to the Main Stem.

The story follows Tommy Walker, a child who witnesses a murder and loses his senses of hearing, sight and speech in reaction to the horror. Set to the music of The Who, which debuted as the concept album “Tommy” in 1969, the musical interrogates trauma, celebrity culture and healing.

The current production began in Chicago and producer Stephen Gabriel and Ira Pittelman shepherded it to Broadway, marking the first revival of “The Who’s Tommy.” The show has been Tony Award-nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. In this episode, the producing duo reveal how the mounting came to be and their strategy to attract audiences in a busy season.

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