“The Who’s Tommy” has found its pinball wizard. Ali Louis Bourzgui will play the titular role in the upcoming Broadway revival. The previously announced production will begin previews on March 8, 2024, ahead of a March 28 opening night at the Nederlander Theatre.
Bourzgui will make his Broadway debut with the production, reprising the role he played in the mounting at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre this past summer. Des McAnuff, who won a Tony Award for directing the original 1993 Broadway production, returns as director. McAnuff co-wrote the musical’s Tony-nominated book with Pete Townshend. Townshend’s Tony-winning score is adapted from The Who’s 1969 album of the same name.
For his performance in the Goodman production, Bourzgui won the 2023 Jeff Award for Best Performer in a Principal Role. Among his other stage credits, Bourzgui played the role of Haled in the national tour of “The Band’s Visit.”
“Tommy” tells the story of young Tommy Walker, who, traumatized by an act of violence, becomes deaf, dumb and blind. But Tommy rises to fame as a prodigy of pinball, calling into question the nature of fame, celebrity and suffering.
Additional casting, by Tara Rubin Casting/Merri Sugarman, will be announced at a later date for the production that promises a reimagined look at “Tommy.”
“[Des] is really focusing on how ‘Tommy’ works in a modern age,” Bourzgui told Broadway News. “We’re really focusing on how the piece talks about trauma and how trauma can affect a person, and how — in group trauma — everyone always wants to follow a leader, who we put up on a pedestal and give them all this power.”