Salesianum Rocks the House With Production of The Who’s: Tommy

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Salesianum Rocks the House With Production of The Who’s: Tommy

Michael Barkasy’s performance as Tommy in this year’s winter production captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll.

Michael Barkasy’s performance as Tommy in this year’s winter production captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll.

Michael Barkasy’s performance as Tommy in this year’s winter production captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll.

Michael Barkasy’s performance as Tommy in this year’s winter production captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll.

Liam Furlong, Editor-in-Chief

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As the curtain closes on this year’s winter production of The Who’s: Tommy, the songs and spirit linger on in the wake of such a spectacular show. Ever since the late fall, young actors & actresses from Sallies, Ursuline, and Padua have been rehearsing without end to deliver one of the most unique performances of their early careers. Even though this Salesianum staging drew to a close on March 11, the cast and crew were eager to describe the workings and wonder it took for them to pull off such an amazing production and, simply put, rock the house.

Without question, The Who’s: Tommy has easily been the most…    different shows to come into contact with the Salesianum School Theatre troupe. Salesianum actor Frankie Frabizzio stated, “This was a completely different show than Les Miserable, but putting on a true rock opera was such an amazing experience.” Lead actor and Salesian sophomore Michael Barkasy thoroughly agreed to this, commenting, “This was a pioneering show. There are your classic shows, your Hair and your American Idiot, that are more rock-based, but this really brings something new to the table.” Barkasy has had a staggered career in theatre, appearing on and off again between productions, yet with his deep-rooted experience in alt rock band Mrs. Kitching and savory guitar skills, director Aaron Bogad made a great call with casting Barkasy as the lead role of Tommy. 

In light of staging an entirely fresh form of theatre, ticket sales went through the roof. Students and members of the Sallies community packed the auditorium night after night, leading to the second largest amount of tickets sold for a Salesianum production ever, second only to last year’s Les Miserable. “Second most is nothing to scoff at,” remarked supporting actor Braedon Carney, a Salesianum junior and actor of four years. “I’m very proud and extremely thankful to be a part of such a phenomenal show with this group of people.” 

While the amount of talent on the stage is nearly overflowing, this production couldn’t have gotten off of the ground without the guidance of the much-appreciated faculty advisers. Director Aaron Bogad never disappoints in his productions, always incorporating innovative elements to timeless classics such as this. As Frankie Frabizzio noted about the artistic stylings of Bogad, “He’s a visionary. While sometimes it’s hard to understand his ideas, I realize why he’s so passionate about his work when I see it on the stage in front of me.” Also making a return to the theatre family this year as directive dramaturge is Mrs. Maria Lantz. “With Tommy, I was really involved in providing the musical context for The Who, and I even made a playlist for everyone to really help them understand the different inspirations and effects that they had.” With the plot of Tommy being told through different historical timelines, it’s evident that Mrs. Lantz work was vital to the accuracy of each role, bridging the divide between the production and the past.

Coming back from Les Miserable last year, pulling off a performance that could top this masterpiece seemed nearly impossible. “When this show was announced, Mr. Bogad told us how people were always asking him ‘How can you top Les Mis,’ and his thought was that we can’t get better than Les Mis, but we’re gonna get louder. Frankly, I think we did both.” Frankie remarked how a main theme in Tommy is teamwork and coming together, and this vibrant motif shines through in both the actual production and the process. Three schools coming together as one to attain such a spectacle emphasizes the familiar brotherhood that this community was founded on, and the immense effort of cast and crew alike ensured that Salesianum’s production of The Who’s: Tommy left the audience screaming for an encore.