'The Beatles' bring all their loving back to Broadway

Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:37am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Beatles - that is, a version of the Liverpool band that broke up more than 40 years ago - are back on Broadway, sending theater audiences dancing into the aisles and proving it's not just Paul McCartney who still believes in "Yesterday."

"Let it Be," a concert-style celebration of the music of the Fab Four that opened in New York this week, is the latest stage show to take fans old and new back to the Beatlemania of the 1960s even as surviving members McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr perform and tour the world in their own right.

Unlike the Abba stage show "Mamma Mia!" or Green Day's "American Idiot" that string a plot around well-known hits, "Let It Be" simply features young look-alikes for McCartney, Starr and the late John Lennon and George Harrison who play and sing Beatles songs live as if the audience were attending a 1960s era concert.

"It's not a musical and it's not just a concert. It's somewhere between those things," director and musical supervisor John Maher told Reuters.

The band performs some 40 hits each night in roughly chronological order from The Beatles' last show at Liverpool's Cavern Club to their final live concert on a London rooftop in January 1969.

Attention is given to detail, including how the band members stood while performing, as well as their Liverpool accents, changing looks, mannerisms and hairstyles. Screens in the theater show original newsreels and some psychedelic video projections.

"If we don't get the authenticity right, the evening doesn't succeed as a concert or a theatrical event. When people walk out, if all we have done is play the songs really well, it doesn't take people to the same place than if we make them believe, just for a second or two, that they are watching the real deal," Maher added.

PLEASE PLEASE ME   Continued...

(L-R) James Fox, John Brosnan, and Reuven Gershon perform in the rock musical "Let it Be" on Broadway at the St. James Theater in New York in this July 15, 2013 picture provided by Chad Batka. REUTERS/Chad Batka/Handout via Reuters