Pete Townshend and Tommy stage director Des McAnuff will be honored on November 11th at the Rockers On Broadway 20 celebration in New York City. Broadwayworld.com reported that the night will honor the Who leader and McAnuff -- who also directed Jersey Boys -- at Soho's Poisson Rouge, with a production featuring an "all-star cast of Broadway's finest" performing 20 songs from the past 20 years. Over the past two decades, Rockers On Broadway has raised over $300,000, "with the upcoming event benefiting The ASCAP Foundation's Children Will Listen Program, The Broadway Dreams Foundation, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS."
Event founder Donnie Kehr explained, "This year, for our 20th anniversary, we're honoring Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff because they gave me the idea for the event. Rock N' Roll and Broadway were never a mix. They were able to change that. Rockers (On Broadway) began because Pete wanted Tommy's cast of Broadway performers to get some experience performing in rock clubs to understand what he did. So our first event actually had rock god Pete Townshend playing backup for Alice Ripley, Norm Lewis, Michael Cerveris, myself and others to help give our Broadway performances a rock n' roll edge. And that spirit has guided 20 years of Rockers On Broadway."
- Pete Townshend has long maintained that once a piece is written, recorded, and performed -- it belongs to the masses, and admits that he never got too hung up on how a rock song is perceived by his audience: "A great rock song, and the way I define it, must speak for those who listen to it -- not for those who play it. If you hear a great rock song. . . If I hear a great early, early, early Elvis (Presley) song, like 'That's All Right, Mama,' it's what I feel that counts. Not what he intended, not what Arthur Crudup intended when he wrote the song."
- Tickets for the November 11th Rockers On Broadway 20 tribute to Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff run between $30 and $250. For more info, log on to: www.rockersonbroadway.com.
- Des McAnuff is currently directing the latest stage version of Tommy running through October 19th at Canada's Stratford Festival.
- The Who's "Super Deluxe" reissue of their 1969 Tommy album will be released on November 11th. The set, which will feature both a remastered and 5.1 surround sound version of the album, will also feature 20 solo Pete Townshend demos. The additional disc -- which literally serves as a one-man band version of the album -- marks the first time all of Townshend's 1968/1969 demos for the album will be officially released.
- The limited edition set features a hardback, 80-page full-color book featuring rare period photos and memorabilia, a 20,000-word essay by Townshend confidante and Who biographer Richard Barnes, and a rare facsimile Tommy poster.
- In addition to that, despite Townshend ordering long-suffering Who sound man Bobby Pridden to destroy all the live tapes of the band's 1969 North American gigs back in the day, a full Tommy performance is presented from an October 19th, 1969 Ottawa gig -- along with additional tracks from other unspecified shows -- will also see its first release.
CHECK IT OUT: The Who on December 14th, 1969 performing "Go To The Mirror" at the London Collseum:
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