Tyler Jensen will take the stage in the lead role of The Who’s Tommy, opening this week on March 2 at 7:30PM in Langworthy Theatre. Jensen is a junior at UNC majoring in musical theatre and minoring in dance. He has previously appeared in productions including Sweeney Todd (Anthony), Children of Eden (Japheth), Sideshow and Marathon 33. 

Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Jensen chose UNC because of the strong reputation of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance. “It’s a family of a program,” he said. “I wanted to go after the best training I could get.”

Jensen’s favorite part about Tommy is the musical content and style. “It’s a glorified rock concert,” he explained. “You don’t usually get to perform this style. It merges the two worlds of rock and musical theatre.” The musical is based on rock band The Who’s 1969 double-album rock opera Tommy

The role of “Tommy” is a challenge for any performer: the vocals are scored in a high tenor range, and the character’s storyline explores some deeply emotional and often dark topics. Jensen also took on an additional challenge: learning to balance and walk on a walking globe, the circus ball that serves as the “pinball wizard’s” life-sized pinball. The prop was part of director David Grapes’s concept for the show. Jensen had never learned this skill before, so he trained for weeks by following online tutorials and practicing tirelessly. 

Jensen plans to move to New York City after graduation, where he hopes to start building relationships with industry professionals. When asked what he would tell others about UNC, he said, “There is a lot of hidden talent here. This show is a great opportunity to get a glimpse into the incredible talent we have at UNC.”

See The Who’s Tommy, March 2-6 in Langworthy Theatre at UNC.