The Who’s TOMMY Star Bobby Conte Shares the Songs He Spins Before a Show

The Who’s TOMMY may be a rock opera at its core, but star Bobby Conte’s dressing room is filled with everything from Florence and the Machine to Samara Joy to Jacob Collier each night before the curtain rises.

“I am and have always been a theater nerd at heart,” the actor tells Ticketmaster of the picks on his exclusive pre-show playlist. As such, Conte’s “current go-tos” include standouts from hidden Broadway gems like The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd, Floyd Collins and Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion.

In the Tony-nominated revival of the 1993 Broadway musical (now playing at the Nederlander Theatre), Conte portrays Cousin Kevin, the teenage tormentor of the titular Tommy, a medical marvel who’s diagnosed as deaf, mute and blind as a child only to become a famous pinball prodigy in post-war London.

Check out all of Conte’s playlist picks below and grab tickets for The Who’s TOMMY on Ticketmaster.

1. Chuck Berry – “Johnny B. Goode”

Pete Townshend is on record saying Chuck Berry is one of his earliest songwriting influences in how he “breaks down the traditional rules and regulations that exist between words and music.” One must always return to the roots of the man one is trying to honor every night onstage.

2. Lawrence – “Guy I Used To Be”

Some Lawrence track is playing around the theater almost on the daily. This is their latest bop. I’m forever a super fan of their NYC funk vibe, it feels like home.

3. Samara Joy – “Tight”

Our modern day Ella Fitzgerald. Thrilling, utterly masterful jazz that’s got me dancing all over my dressing room as I warm up my falsetto.

4. Rush – “2112”

Ali [Louis Bourzgui] actually recommended this concept record to me. Twenty minutes straight through about re-discovering music in a futuristic fascist totalitarian society that’s banned it. Get into it.

5. Jacob Collier – “Summer Rain”

Jacob Collier. Chris Thile. Madison Cunningham. In an album of masterpieces (Djesse Vol. 4), this devastating lyric and stunningly beautiful arrangement stands out as my favorite and settles my nerves before places. The Mahogany Sessions acoustic version in particular is unparalleled.

6. Florence + The Machine – “Free”

An ode to anxiety, that we feel as artists and just human beings moving through this terrifying world. Cannot wait to welcome Florence Welch into the American musical theater.

7. Original Cast of Stereophonic – “Masquerade”

I was lucky enough to see one of the first previews of Stereophonic at Playwrights Horizons, and was absolutely knocked out by it. A seminal new American hybrid play with unreal music. Cast album’s been on repeat since its release last week.

8. Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley – “Who Can I Turn To?”

From Anthony Warlow to Tony Bennett to Anthony Newley on the original cast recording of The Roar of the Greasepaint, so many of my vocal idols have interpreted this song. Their tonal quality and how they phrase a lyric is embedded into my subconscious at this point.

9. Benjamin Scheuer – “A Surprising Phone Call”

One of the most perfect songs written for one of the most perfect solo shows you’ll ever experience. If you haven’t listened to/watched Ben Scheuer’s The Lion, you’re sorely missing out. Can’t believe my friend’s such a genius.

10. Adam Guettel – “The Riddle Song”

In an infamous interview Stephen Sondheim gave listing songs he’d wished he’d written, this Floyd Collins gem sat at the top. One of my dream shows and roles. Always leaves me feeling inspired.


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