The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 17th and 18th, in its 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art theater, in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC. The lineup of the Beatles tribute band, which Broadway Series South brought to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in November of 2007 and 2008, included four veterans of the 1977-79 Broadway musical revue Beatlemania — Steve Landes (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, harmonica) as John Lennon (1940-80), Joey Curatolo (vocals, bass, piano, guitar) as Paul McCartney (1942-), Joe Bithorn (vocals, lead guitar) as George Harrison (1943-2001), and Ralph Castelli (drums, percussion, vocals) as Ringo Starr (1940-) — plus Mark Lewis (keyboards, percussion).
Rain started as a California club band in the 1970s and went through several incarnations before evolving into the multimedia musical extravaganza that made its Broadway debut on Oct. 26, 2010 at the Neil Simon Theatre and later transferred to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Altogether, the show played for 300 performances on Broadway before closing on July 31, 2011. Rain won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue.
According to a news release on the show’s official website:
“Together longer than The Beatles themselves, Rain has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance that’s as infectious as it is transporting. From the early hits to later classics that The Beatles never got the chance to play live, this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!
“Like The Beatles, the onstage members of Rain are not only supreme musicians, but electrifying performers in their own right. In addition to members of the original Rain band, at certain performances the concert will also feature the talents of Graham Alexander, Joe Bologna, Douglas Cox, Jim Irizarry, John Korba, David Leon, Jimmy Pou, Mac Ruffing, Chris Smallwood and Tom Teeley.
“The New York Times thinks ‘The audience is enraptured. They get a chance to sing along, twist and shout, and generally make like swooning teenyboppers from the 1960s as the hits roll by and the endorphins kick in.’ While the New York Post says ‘Rain hits all the right notes!’
“USA Today calls Rain ‘A trip down memory lane!’ and a ‘Quick fix of nostalgic cheer!’ chimes Entertainment Weekly. Rain is ‘guaranteed to raise a smile!’ states the [Newark, NJ] Star-Ledger, and TimeoutNY Kids agrees that ‘As John Lennon would say, it’s a great way for kids and adults to come together!'”
In my November 4, 2008 review of the Broadway Series South presentation of Rain in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, yours truly wrote:
“… [T]his magnificent Beatles tribute band … performs songs from all phases of The Beatles’ career, including many hits penned after the British super-group’s last [commercial] concert on August 29, 1966 in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
“Messrs. Landes, Curatolo, Bithorn, and Castelli are more soundalikes than lookalikes for Messrs. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr. But they are note perfect; and they can really rock, even if Curatolo plays the left-handed McCartney’s bass and guitar licks right-handed.
“Rain is not just a heck of a live concert; it is a true musical extravaganza, with striking scenery and scintillating costumes. (As The Beatles’ music evolves, Rain’s clothing, haircuts, moustaches, and beards change to reflect the then-current fashions.)
“A full-fledged multimedia presentation, Rain creates just the right mood for each of its five musical segments by artfully projecting choice snippets of news-reel footage [with Rain band members inserted Zelig-like], videos of vintage [television] commercials, etc., on three huge overhead projection screens to recreate the zeitgeist of the tumultuous era from 1960 to 1970….”
During the group’s last Triangle appearance, in November 2008, the First Set recreated The Beatles’ historic February 1964 performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” wearing custom-tailored Saville Row suits and Beatle boots and mop-top haircuts. The Second Set combined songs from Beatles’ movies, such as mock rock documentary A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965), with highlights from the 1965 Shea Stadium concert, which was performed in tan Nehru jackets. The Third Set reprised chart-toppers from the “Sgt. Pepper” era, with Rain wearing the colorful faux-military band costumes from the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover.
After an intermission, the Fourth Set showcased songs from the Flower Power Era, such as “Hello Goodbye,” “I Am the Walrus,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps;” and the Fifth Set recreated some of the best songs from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” period, including “Get Back,” “Revolution,” and “Give Peace a Chance.”
Overall, as I wrote way back in November 2008: “… From first to last note, Rain goes full tilt, much to the audience’s delight…. Don’t miss Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles. It will delight Baby Boomers as well as show their children and grandchildren what the fuss was all about….”
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 4th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/16997401/article-A-Broadway-tribute-to-‘the-greatest-band’-ever? (Note: You must register first to read this article).
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 and 18 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
TICKETS: $31.00-$73-25 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787), firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1242978.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.raintribute.com/media/.
Rain: http://www.raintribute.com/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAIN_–_A_Tribute_to_The_Beatles (Wikipedia), and http://ibdb.com/show.php?id=488175 (Internet Broadway Database).
Steve Landes: http://www.steve-landes.com/ (official website).
Joey Curatolo: http://broadwayworld.com/people/Joey_Curatolo/ (BroadwayWorld.com).
Joe Bithorn: http://broadwayworld.com/people/Joe_Bithorn/ (BroadwayWorld.com).
Ralph Castelli: http://broadwayworld.com/people/Ralph_Castelli/ (BroadwayWorld.com).
The Beatles: http://www.beatles.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatles (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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