Beatlemania (musical)

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Beatlemania
Music The Beatles
Lyrics The Beatles
Book Bob Gill, Robert Rabinowitz (artist), Lynda Obst
Basis The life of The Beatles.
Productions 1977 Broadway

Beatlemania was a Broadway musical revue focused on the music of The Beatles as it related to the events and changing attitudes of the tumultuous 1960s. A "rockumentary", advertised as "Not the Beatles, but an incredible simulation", it ran from 1977 to 1979 for a total of 920 performances.

History[edit]

Originally conceived and produced by Steve Leber and David Krebs, Beatlemania began previews on May 26, 1977 in Boston. It premiered on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on May 31, 1977, (after previewing from May 26) and ran until October 17, 1979, for a total of 1006 performances. During its New York run, the show moved to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and finally the Palace Theatre. The production was nominated for the 1978 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design by designer Jules Fisher, while the sound engineer was longtime industry veteran William (Bill) Rofot. Saturday Night Live even had a parody - Beatlemaniamania - not Beatlemania, but an incredible simulation.

After closing on Broadway, the "Beatlemania Bus and Truck tour" began, running until 1983 and touring across the United States and worldwide. A lawsuit by the Beatles company Apple Corps officially ended the show for a period of time but revival tours still continue today.

At its peak, Beatlemania had several permanent shows in several cities around the world and several semi-temporary shows in many more cities in the U.S. and the rest of the world. An updated show, "With the Beatles", was created as a tribute to the musical in 1983.

As the show expanded in its formative years over 50 original cast members formed 10 bunks (or casts of a single set of four). As the New York show continued its run, shows were opened in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cincinnati, and London. Short term tours of Australia, Europe, Asia and Africa were produced after 1982 and revival tours continue today.

Beatlemania: The Album[edit]

In 1978, Beatlemania released a self-titled original cast album of the show which included contributions from the first and second cast of performers from the show (as well as five additional off stage musicians - keyboards; violin; cello; sax/flute/recorder; trumpet/picollo trumpet and oboe). Released on Arista Records in 1978, the album received warm audience reaction even placing on the Billboard 200 for several weeks before falling into vinyl obscurity. Tracks from the album included most but not all of the original show's songlist and several of the tracks were either re-recorded entirely or partially re-recorded in the studio. Cast members that appear on the album include Mitch Weissman, Joe Pecorino, Les Fradkin, Justin Mcneill, Randy Clark, Reed Kailing, P.M. Howard and Bobby Taylor.

Beatlemania: The Movie[edit]

After three years of production USA Video Productions took an interest in making a film version of the Beatlemania stage show. After a brief contract negotiation, Beatlemania: The Movie began production in late 1980 (shortly before the murder of John Lennon). The film's cast featured Mitch Weissman (bass guitar), David Leon (rhythm guitar), Tom Teeley (lead guitar), and Ralph Castelli (drums). Beatlemania: The Movie received negative reviews, with observers criticizing the film for being too art based and not worthy of being associated with the stageshow, and plans for a follow-up film were immediately cancelled.

Cast members[edit]

Because of the vocal strain (especially for "Paul") involved in doing 10 or more shows per week, each production utilized two (2) casts or "Bunks' as they were dubbed by Musical Director Sandy Yaguda. The Original Broadway production featured Bunk 1 (Mitch Weissman, Joe Pecorino, Les Fradkin and Justin McNeill) and Bunk 2 (Randy Clark, Reed Kailing, P.M. Howard and Bobby Taylor). Subsequent cast members of the Leber-Krebs production are known as "Original" cast members, as the show expanded with several touring casts. However, it is common practice for Beatles Tribute bands to promote themselves falsely, as "Original Broadway Cast".

John Lennon[edit]

  • Joe Pecorino
  • Randy Clark
  • Michael Palaikis (deceased)
  • David Leon
  • Marshall Crenshaw
  • Mark "Farquar" Vaccacio (deceased)
  • Peter McCann
  • Bob Williford
  • Robert Wirth
  • Jim Riddle (deceased)
  • Steve Landes

Paul McCartney[edit]

George Harrison[edit]

  • Les Fradkin
  • P.M. Howard
  • Tom Teeley
  • Rob Laufer
  • Bobby Diebold
  • Richie Gomez
  • Jimmy Pou
  • Bob Miller
  • Peter Santora
  • Chris Gavin
  • Joe Bithorn
  • Richi Ray

Ringo Starr[edit]

  • Justin McNeil
  • Bobby Taylor
  • Bennett Gale
  • Louie Colucci
  • Ralph Castelli
  • Sy Goraieb
  • Bobby Forte
  • Al Sapienza
  • Rick Bloom
  • Phil LoMedico
  • Neil Floyd (left the show after the 2 weeks of preview performances)
  • Gemma Press

Post-1984 Cast[edit]

Casts and casting became independent after 1984 as revival and current casts tour under many different Beatle-related nomenclatures.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]