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Dinner and a Show: The Who’s “Tommy” and Iron Hill Brewery in Media PA

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Media Pennsylvania is a great town to stroll the streets and shops, take in a some great eats,The Who's Tommy and enjoy a show. We did just that as the town’s Media Theater was featuring the classic rock musical “Tommy.”  To complete the night, we also dined at the Iron Hill Brewery, but let’s talk about the show first!

The Who's Tommy began as a concert, was adapted for film as well as a ballet, and eventually became a hit rock musical  by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff based on The Who's 1969 double album rock opera Tommy, also by Townshend, with additional material by John Entwistle and Sonny Boy Williamson.

The show's eponymous hero is a boy who is stricken deaf, dumb and blind at the age of four after watching his father return from a World War II prisoner's camp to shoot his mother's lover. Tommy's only form of communication proves to be his latent wizardry at pinball, a talent that soon turns him into a media sensation.

The sung-through show is propelled by many pulsating rock and roll numbers and includes such favorites as "Pinball Wizard" and "See Me, Feel Me." The band is neatly tucked on the theater's upper level.

Ultimately, what really gives any production its theatrical legs is the cast. While not everyone here is up to the triple challenge of acting, singing and dancing, all are charged with energy and fully committed.

The role of Tommy as a adult and the narrator is portrayed by Peter Kriss, who has been seen in regional productions of "Footloose" and "Fame.”  Kriss brings an enormous amount of energy to the role and is by far the best developed character in the show. Noteworthy is the performance of Mrs. Walker by Anastasia Lange.

Broadway's Tony nominated actress Ann Crumb, who has originated numerous leading roles on Broadway and in London's West End, rocks out as the Acid Queen, about 4 minuets of gyrating and howling. This role is a disappointing match for her talent.

Colin Campbell McAdoo is directed to play the role of the cruel Cousin Kevin a bit too over the top flamboyant and attention grabbing in every scene. Both young Tommy’s John Michael Daily (age 5) and  Brendan DeSanto (age 10) do a fine job as the mime-like children.

The cast is over miked making the decent band go out of sync a few times throwing some of the vocals out of line and making it difficult to be engaged with some of the characters and especially when the company sings together. Choreography is mixed; tight and effective in one scene and wild and sloppy in the next. “Pinball Wizard” and the finale number are the highlight of this production.

"The Who's Tommy" plays at The Media Theatre (March 30-May 22) For tickets: call 610-891-0100 or visit www.mediatheatre.org

Iron Hill Brewery and RestaurantIron Hill Brewery and Restaurant

A block down State street sits the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant.  Founded by home brewers Finn and Mark Edelson and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is the region’s fastest-growing restaurant group, blossoming from one restaurant and brewery to eight locations across the mid-Atlantic.

Their acclaimed beers have accumulated a wealth of awards from the nation’s top beer festivals, and their restaurants have earned more than 100 “Best of” nods from local and national publications.

First impressions mean a lot and the rich cherry wood décor; street view tall tables and chairs and full bar make a fun feature. A spacious separate seated section makes for a quiet dinner atmosphere.

Tara our server was happy to share her expertise about the fresh brewed beer and patiently explained the highlights of the different varieties which she brought out to us as the eight pack sampler. Ranging from light to dark we soon found our favorites; “Vienna Red Lager”, an amber lager, medium and the “Raspberry Wheat” were my picks. My dinner guest was leaning towards the “Wee Heavy”, a dark, medium with a roasted character. However we both enjoyed the “Irish Dry Hops” a full bodied, dry dark brew.

Tara and general manager Clint Wagner both recommended some dinner favorites making this a tough choice!

We started with their “Ale & Onion Au Gratin” soup with Gruyere and “Colossal Crab Cocktail” with sweet corn relish and creamy mustard with chunks of crab meat to dip. Our main entrees were a mix of steak and seafood. I chose the “Horseradish Crusted Salmon” served with a rich mushroom Israel couscous pilaf and asparagus covered in garlic butter. The salmon was thick and fresh and the horseradish crusting light and crispy.

My guest chose the “Char-Grilled Flat Iron Steak” which was red Chile rubbed, tender cuts of flat strips, with a touch of onions and drizzled with a chipotle-lime sauce. Sides included smoked cheddar macaroni and cheese and tri-colored pepper strips. Dessert was the “chocolate cherry bomb”; a dark chocolate hard shelled mound which broke open to a dense chocolate cake with a center of rich cream, surrounded by a thick cherry sauce just right for dipping and coffee, of course.

Iron Hill’s full menu consists of house made soups, five different generous salads, and nine appetizers. They also offer eleven shared plate sides such as chicken wings, sweet potatoes fries and a variety of spring and egg rolls. A huge variety of specialty sandwiches, burgers and wraps as well as ten full course main entrees.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is located on 30 E. State Street. For information and reservation call 610.627.9000 or visit www.ironhillbrewery.com for their other 9 locations.
                                      
TOMMY Photo: The Who website
Iron Hill Brewery Photo: Steve Legato

Pati Buehler
Philly2Philly.com, Entertainment & Cultural writer

Contact Pati Buehler at pbuehler@philly2philly.com

Broadwayworld.com, NJ & Philadelphia regional events writer 

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