Award-winning musical biography of Beatles comes to Fairfield stageWritten by Theresa Rose on May 13, 2016
Musical retelling of Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein features the live music of renowned
tribute band Abbey Road and performs at the Sondheim Center for Performing Arts on May 25
FAIRFIELD, IA (05/10/16) Almost everyone knows that The Beatles are one of the most acclaimed bands in rock and roll history because their music has the hypnotic qualities that made teenage girls scream and artists today and yesterday cite them as one of their influences.
While many of us don’t have the opportunity to see the two surviving Beatles Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr live in concert these days, the closest thing to watching an actual Beatles concert will be In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles, which performs at the Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 pm. The Hoover High (Des Moines) String Quartet will accompany on five songs.
You mean just another tribute band? No, because not all tribute bands are alike.
This one portrays the Beatles—John Lennon (Nathaniel Bott), Paul McCartney (Christopher Overall), George Harrison (Zak Schaffer) and Ringo Starr (Axel Clarke)—as authentically as possible, from their singing to the myriad of guitars used throughout the band’s decade-long career. Listening to songs like “Penny Lane” or “I Want To Hold Your Hand” from this tribute band is almost like listening to the original icons themselves. The cast members are age appropriate for the Beatles, between 22 – 32 years of age.
While the great repertoire of songs bind this musical together, the audience also gets the opportunity to relive the most important moments of The Beatles’ epic legacy, which spans the entire 1960s period. The actors that portray the band members connect with the crowd through their lovable sense of humors and cheeky banter.
As one watches The Beatles progress throughout that decade, the band’s manager Brian Epstein (Murphy Martin) makes his presence known throughout the musical, narrating his side of the story starting from his discovery of the Fab Four at the Cavern Club in Liverpool up until after the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Epstein plays a very important role in this show, not only because he was the man who discovered the group, but he also influenced their personal touch with audiences and, of course, their fashion sense. Who could forget the image of the four dressed up in suits on their arrival at New York’s JFK Airport in 1964?
This show is not just about reliving the breakthrough Ed Sullivan Show performance on February 9, 1964 that 78 million people watched on television, or reviving their deafening and packed Shea Stadium concert in 1965, it also touches on the band’s intimate moments in the recording studio. The audience observes the four in the studio as they struggle to reconcile their creative differences after Epstein’s death in 1967, a couple months after the release of Sgt. Pepper.
As for inspiration for the musical, Tom Maher, one of the co-producers alongside Andy Nagle, said that a friend gave him a biography on Epstein, which was the basis of the “In My Life” musical.
“It took a while to get the pacing, but we are happy with the results,” Maher said.
Maher added that he wanted to make the portrayal as accurate as possible, with the band using the exact gear from the box amps to the guitars. Even the costumes they used throughout the performance—from the suits to the ensembles they wore during their Sgt. Pepper’s period—mirror the originals designs.
The show in Fairfield is part of a 125 stop tour of the U.S. and Canada. The show has been touring since 2008.
Hoover High students Morgan Meyer, Hannah Prideaux, Heath Neal and Joseph Lynch will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.” In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.
The San Diego Theatre Review called the show “the most original of all Beatles shows” and a “flat out great show!” The Los Angeles Times said “the show delivers,” and the Idaho Statesman said “this is the ticket for you!”