Stories » New production of Pete Townshend's Tommy gets 3D sound treatment from Astro Spatial Audio / AudioMediaInternational

Top 10 for Aug

New production of Pete Townshend's Tommy gets 3D sound treatment from Astro Spatial Audio / AudioMediaInternational

Bookmark and Share

An all-new production of The Who guitarist Pete Townshend's rock opera Tommy has opened at the Denver Center in Colorado. The 1969 musical tells the story of a deaf, dumb and blind boy who achieves a personal breakthrough when he becomes an expert pinball player, and features some of Townshend's best-loved songs, including ‘Pinball Wizard' and ‘See Me, Feel Me.' 

For the musical component of the new production director Sam Buntrock and sound designer Ken Travis had several motivating ideas in mind. "This is not to criticise some of the more recent stage productions, but we wanted to get away from a synth/keyboard-heavy sound and get back to guitars – in effect, ‘to put The Who back on stage'," said Travis. "We wanted an energy and a rawness that audiences would closely associate with The Who."

To deliver this sonic vision Travis was certain "from day one" that he wanted to incorporate immersive audio with localised sound effects into his sound design. He had experimented with several immersive systems on previous projects, but it was his experience as an audience member of The Band's Visit – David Yazbek's acclaimed new musical that opened on Broadway in November 2017, which makes extensive use of the Astro Spatial Audio (ASA) solution  – that convinced him he had identified the most appropriate technology. "I was really blown by the use of the ASA system – and I wasn't even sitting in a particularly good seat!" recallled Travis. "The Band's Visit is a very different, more intimate show than Tommy, but the audio localisation was fantastic and really contributed to the overall effect of the production."

READ THE FULL AudioMediaInternational ARTICLE