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New musical offers rare behind the scenes look at the Beatles

by Adam Forrest, Beatles News Editor

Usually, when you go to see a show by a Beatles tribute band, what you see is the tribute band's idea of what the Beatles would have looked like and sounded like in a concert at any of the venues the Beatles would have played in the sixties, as polished and perfect as they could look and sound. However, there is a new musical, currently playing at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, that offers Beatles fans a different glimpse of the Beatles.

It was every Beatles fan's fondest wish, that after they had gone their separate ways for their solo careers, the Beatles would get back together again. It actually almost happened. In 1976, as a joke, the TV show Saturday Night Live invited them all to appear together. According to John, Paul came round his apartment at the Dakota in Manhattan and they joked about taking up the offer, but they didn't do it. When John Lennon in 1980, a Beatles reunion became impossible forever.

Now, imagine both John Lennon and George Harrison are still alive (it isn't hard to do). It's something a Beatles fan does every time they listen to a Beatles record. Imagine it's now 2013, and they've each been going their own separate way with their own records and performance tours since 1969. Like the time in 1976 when they had an offer to be on Saturday Night Live, this time, they've been invited to play at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where it all started.

David Leon as John Lennon

All the Beatles, reconciled since the seventies, gather together one day in Ringo's basement. They've backed each other many times over the years, John on Ringo's album, Ringo on Paul's album, but they haven't played together, all four of them, in years. They kid around, just like old times, and start to play the old songs.

And the best part of this ultimate Beatles fan fantasy is, you are there! Because this is what happens in the new show, The Stars of Beatlemania! As we watch, the four Beatles re-explore their own history and try to see if they still can do it, and should they really go through with going back to the Cavern to perform. You are a fly on the wall as they joke about trying to remember the lyrics, and who of the four wrote the best songs.

Mitch Weisman as Paul McCartney and
David Brighton as George Harrison

Then, in the second half of the show, you are among the luckiest of Beatles fans as you have made it into the small audience of the Cavern Club to see the Beatles perform their reunion there. This is a special show, and this being an "alternate universe" from the one Beatles tribute bands usually perform in, you hear the Beatles play a few songs not usually performed by tribute bands. (I won't give them away, it's a wonderful surprise when it happens!)

The show stars the original cast members of one of the biggest Broadway smashes of all time, the Stars of Beatlemania, including David Leon as John Lennon, Mitch Weisman as Paul McCartney, David Brighton as George Harrison and Mike Sarafian as Ringo Starr. It's a wonderful experience for any Beatles fan, or really any fan of rock, as it's a glimpse behind the scenes of the Beatles of the kind that only a handful of "insiders" have been privileged to see before.

The Stars of Beatlemania! Featuring the Original Cast members from the #1 National Touring Show in America Celebrating the Music of the Beatles, is playing now through August 4 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, CA. Shows are Thursday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm and 8pm, and Sunday matinee at 3pm.

For tickets and more info, call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

Published July 5, 2013

This article is Copyright © 2013, Adam Forrest, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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