Sunday, December 12, 2010

Steady Outpouring of Beatlemania in 'Rain'

A scene of a Beatles tribute band, above, in "Rain." Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.


at the Neil Simon Theatre for a limited run through 15 Jan. before traveling about the country, isn't just a tribute show by a tribute band.

The 15 rotating musicians in the cast take turns at various performances playing The Beatles and their backup. Many of them have Broadway’s "Beatlemania" on their credits.

Graham Alexander makes a particularly appealing Paul; ditto for David Leon at one performance and a livelier Steve Landis at another as John; Joe Bithorn and Joe Bologna were an introspective George and Ringo, respectively. The quartet was backed by Mark Beyer on keyboard and percussion.

The cast is not young enough to really pull off the "Lads Landing in New York" sequence from 7 Feb. 1964. These imposters are musically credible, however, and any program featuring oodles of Beatles songs is bound to be fun!(See videos of “Imagine” and “Blackbird,” respectively

Costumes are picture perfect – right off album covers such as “Abbey Road” – and the cast is also mostly pitch-perfect representatives, covering The Beatles from “The Ed Sullivan Show” where the band is dressed in Eton jackets. On “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band,” the gaudy psychedelics are pleasing. "Rain" doesn't follow a strictly linear Beatles chronology. At one point “Rain” travels to the Shea Stadium concert – the first of its kind according to the narrator – via footage of overwrought teens on screens next to and behind the stage. The band on stage performs its version of this Beatles experience.

The audience is encouraged to stand up and dance, to sing along and to enjoy some old-time commercials while the cast changes. Video clips and colorful graphics are projected along with shots of the audience. The ‘60s-era commercials for cigarettes and shampoos were absolute crowd-pleasers. This reviewer was mesmerized by the trivia quiz that greeted her as she moved down the aisle toward her seat. It’s fun to see how much one really knows about the Fab Four.

There is no message or meaning and none of the deeper pleasures of the theater in "Rain." It’s simply a re-enactment of a concert that never happened and a performance of iconic Beatles songs.

From New York, “Rain” moves to Pittsburgh, and a number of other cities, including, Detroit; Biloxi, MS; Birmingham, AL; Boston and Chicago, before winding down in Los Angeles on 17 April 2011. (

Visit to learn more about “Rain.”

No comments :

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
Based on a work at .
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at .