I have spent the last six months working as Assistant Director and Vocal Director on Tokyo International Player's production of The Who's Tommy.
The music was more challenging than I was expecting with one of the songs having 13 vocal parts. There was also the challenge of teaching music in a rock style after coming off a show where all the music was sung in the legit musical theatre style. The woman on the show were expected to do a lot of belting and the male roles were very high, with Tommy being expected to be sing a C5.
I found that the Estill methods for belting were helpful for some of the woman and that the biggest problem we faced was the use of too much air. We also got quite a lot of vocal fatigue as it was difficult for the cast to hear themselves over the rock band, which leads to over-singing and strain. It is very hard to trust your voice if you can't hear it properly.
In the end the cast sounded great and I was very happy with the progress that was made over the rehearsal process.
The Who's Tommy, Sparks, Photo Credit: Rodger Sono