Beatles Tribute is Right as Rain, May 1 – 6

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rainRain: A Tribute to the Beatles (All ages)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m., Sun 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25 – $57

A faux Fab Four is rocking the Tennessee Performing Arts Center this week during the Broadway touring production of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles. And what a tribute it is! Wow!

I’ll readily admit that I’ve never been a real big fan of The Beatles, because they weren’t prevalent in my generation, but like Elvis Presley who came before them, I have always appreciated the mark they made in music and pop culture history. Their impact, no doubt, is immeasurable.

Unlike other recent Broadway smashes heralding throwbacks to musical sensations from the 1950s and ’60s (Jersey Boys and Million Dollar Quartet), Rain doesn’t take the stage with a traditional musical set-up. There’s no story arc via dialogue on stage to play out the evolution of the band. Instead, Rain gives the audience a nearly two-and-a-half hour sensational rock concert serving up 30-plus memorable tunes of The Beatles.

The staging of the show is most impressive. Prior to the curtain rising (and in between set/costume changes), two large video screens on both sides of the stage broadcast classic, period footage from the era when The Beatles first set foot on American soil — everything from Prell and Winston cigarette commercials to those British mop tops disembarking off the plane for the first time in the United States.

The infamous Ed Sullivan gave The Beatles their first big televised break in America, and appropriately, that’s where the first song begins, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” TPAC’s Jackson Hall patrons suddenly become the audience of Ed Sullivan’s show on that historic night when The Beatles worked their magic and immediately and forever captured the youth of that generation.

The phenomenal cast of singers/musicians deliciously serves up the goods from start to finish! Steve Landes (John Lennon), Joey Curatolo (Paul McCartney), Joe Bithorn (George Harrison) and Ralph Castelli (Ringo Starr) are simply impeccable. Not to mention Mark Beyer, who graces the stage to fill in on keyboards and percussion during the later years of The Beatles’ career.

Granted, the lack of spoken dialogue in this show does make the audience rely on a certain amount of Beatles history. However, the progression of what happens on stage is easy to follow as the cast succinctly replicates the band’s initial introduction on the Sullivan show to its huge Shea Stadium performance, then gliding into the psychedelic realm of the Sgt. Peppers era prior to the band’s shift into political activism.

If you’re a die-hard Beatles fan (and even if you’re not), this show is the tops. You’ll get to hear wonderful reproductions of tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Days Night,” “This Boy,” Yesterday,” “Twist and Shout,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help From my Friends,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Come Together,” “Get Back,” “Revolution,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Hey Jude” and many more.

I walked in to the theater thinking I only knew at best three or four Beatles songs, but was surprised to realize how many more I actually knew! It was A LOT of fun being there on opening night surrounded by several older theater patrons who obviously grew up in the era of The Beatles. It was thrilling to witness them have a grand time and reminisce their youth, because they were REALLY into it… But it was also fun to be around fellow folks my age who brought their children, whom were equally excited, on their feet, arm waving and dancing most of the night.

This is definitely a show your family won’t want to miss.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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