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"RAIN", A Tribute to the Beatles, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre
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"RAIN", A Tribute to the Beatles, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

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Annerin Productions, MagicSpace Entertainment
Nederlander Presentations, Inc. and RAIN

Present:

RAIN
A Tribute to the Beatles
(Beatles Website)
On Broadway
(RAIN on Broadway Website)

Starring:
Steve Landes on Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Harmonica
Joey Curatolo on Vocals, Bass, Piano, Guitar
Joe Bithorn on Vocals, Guitar, Guitar Synth, Sitar
Ralph Castelli on Drums, Percussion, Vocals
With
Mark Beyer on Keyboard, Percussion

And an ensemble of Vocalists and Musicians

At
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th Street
NY, NY

Scenic Design: Scott Christensen, Todd Skinner
Video Design: Darren McCaulley, Mathieu St-Arnaud
Lighting Design: Stephen Gotschel
Sound Design: Abe Jacob
Production Stage Manager: Lurie Horns Pfeffer
General Management: Niko Companies & Steve Boulay
Band Management: Mark Lewis
Production Supervisor: Theatrical Services, Inc.,
Artie Siccardi, Pat Sullivan
Press: The Hartman Group
Marketing Director: Bruce Granath


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 17, 2011


This tribute show to the Beatles was one of the most fun productions of the season, with the entire audience in full-fledged jubilation, sometimes singing, clapping, swaying, reaching, and even crying (tears of bonded remembrance). My theatre companion knows all the Beatles songs and stats, and he was enthused throughout. At intermission he taught me about the various eras of Beatles music, including songs from iconic albums, many of which were performed tonight in solo with backup or in Fab Four ensemble; “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Yesterday and Today”, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”, and “Abbey Road”. The stars of this show are Steve Landes (John Lennon’s role), Joey Curatolo (Paul McCartney’s role), Joe Bithorn (George Harrison’s role), and Ralph Castelli (Ringo Starr’s role). For my purposes, they sounded great and as close to the real Fab Four sound as it gets, without lip-synching. This show was all live created music, except for the intermittent projection shows of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, in Shea Stadium, and in large festival arenas. Included in the archival films were screeching, hysterical fans, mostly young women, some of whom needed stretchers from fainting at the scene.

The Beatles arrived in the US in February 1964 and were booked twice that month on Ed Sullivan, the same show that had introduced Elvis Presley in 1956 and ’57. The Beatles rode on the tide of rock and propelled it into new genres. The musicians in this show didn’t have the outsized charisma of the actual Fab Four, but they didn’t try to act in character. Their conversation was to the audience, introductions, explanations, a tutorial as tribute. But, a wild one at that, as the crowd at the Brooks Atkinson took on the communal song of Shea Stadium, without the agitation. A rear stage ensemble played backup vocals, percussion, and ornamental chords, and Mark Beyer joined front stage on keyboard and percussion. Costumes and wigs brought out rounded brown bobs, long straight hair, frizzy hair, silk military jackets, sideburns, sunglasses, psychedelic shirts, and mustaches, but the focus was always on the songs. They were performed in sequential eras, like “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Help”, “Yesterday”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Yellow Submarine”, “Something”, and an encore of “Hey Jude”.

Unlike the show Million Dollar Quartet, another Broadway tribute, set in the Memphis Sun Record studios in 1956, Rain, “A Tribute to the Beatles”, doesn’t tell the story, it features the visual highlights and replicates the musical memories. The video close-ups show tonight’s cast, rather than actual Beatles, perhaps due to royalties and legalities, but the long-distance shots are all Fab Four. The Playbill, as well, lists the stars as vocalist-musicians, but the Beatles are nowhere to be found, except on the tribute title page. I had hoped for some archival interview clips, but the music was more than satisfying. The 60’s commercials for cigarettes and suds, with some cameos of Twiggy, certainly rewound the calendar. Scott Christensen and Todd Skinner’s sets are uncluttered and creative, and the videos, lighting, and sound all magnified the music. Kudos to the Beatles for such timeless songs.



The Cast of "Rain",
A Tribute to the Beatles,
in Ed Sullivan Show.
Courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann


The Cast of "Rain",
A Tribute to the Beatles,
in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band".
Courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann


The Cast of "Rain",
A Tribute to the Beatles,
in "Abbey Road".
Courtesy of Cylla von Tiegemann




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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net