The Who's watershed double-album Tommy shook the music scene when it debuted more than 40 years ago and now the Stratford Festival is shaking up its program with a revival of the classic rock opera.

When The Who songwriter and guitarist Pete Townshend first penned the concept album about the neglected, abused boy who became a "pinball wizard," he captured the angst, experiences and concerns of a post-war generation.

"Pete Townshend wrote a classic, so I think it's appropriate to do his classic in this environment, where we do so many other classics," former Stratford artistic director Des McAnuff, who has returned to direct the festival's Tommy revival, told CBC News.

The show's themes — abuse, coming out of one's shell, the dangers of celebrity — still have meaning for a generation more accustomed to an XBox than a pinball machine.

"It still resonates," Townshend said.

Tommy has its opening night on Thursday at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ont. and continues through mid-October.