Broadway Playbill cover
|Book||Bob Gill, Robert Rabinowitz, Lynda Obst|
|Basis||The life and music of The Beatles.|
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 1,006 performances.
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
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
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.
Act I SCENE 1 / CAMELOT: Pre-Beatles
The early 1960s begin with an all-time optimism in America. Youthful and elegant, John F. Kennedy charms the public and press while his First Family welcomes the public into the White House. His assassination on November 22, 1963 shocks the country in a horrifying introduction to what was to become the most turbulent of decades.
Songs: Let's Twist Again, Roll Over Beethoven, Bye Bye Love, Hound Dog
SCENE II / THE COMING
Television viewers watch open-mouthed as a group of four Liverpudlians explode on national television. Shortly after their debut in February, 1964, the lighthearted, moptopped jesters begin to win recognition and attention never before given to rock and roll artists.
Songs: I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You,
SCENE III / MAKING IT The "Fab Four" establish themselves as style-setters, innovators, movie stars, recording artists and fashion-makers with a contagious sense of humor, newness and excitement.
Songs: Help, If I Fell, Can't Buy Me Love, Day Tripper,
SCENE IV / LISTENING
As a group begins to mature musically, a sense of introspection is felt through their music. Critics begin to give them more serious consideration, while an increasing number and diversity of fans await the changing sounds of each newly released recording.
Songs: Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, We Can Work It Out, Nowhere Man, SCENE V / TRIPPING
Becoming an accepted entity by the "establishment," the group takes on a whole new direction with musical experimentation and sensual, psychedelic perceptions. Their music is becoming a directional for the increasing "counter-culture" and antiestablishment youth movement.
Songs: A Day In The Life, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, Magical Mystery Tour, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,
Act II SCENE V / DROPPING OUT
Their growing musical styles have connected with other cultures and lifestyles through a multi-dimensional sound which defies categorization. The country's youth follows suit in more personal, individualized self-exploration and unconventional answers to an unresponsive and static society.
Songs: Lady Madonna, The Fool On the Hill, Got To Get You Into My Life, Michelle, Get Back,
SCENE VII / FLOWER POWER
Holding its own, the youth movement becomes an established force and reality, influencing all phases of society: as the "hippies" and "street-people" of Haight Ashbury and New York's Lower East Side reach for beyond their coastal boundaries into the homes of middle-America.
Songs: Come Together, With A Little Help From My Friends, All You Need Is Love,
SCENE VIII / BOTTOMING OUT
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy traumatize the country. The War in Vietnam rages on and the confusion, anger and violent confrontations in the streets of the U.S. splinter any hopeful ideals left from the early years of the decade. The group moves towards separation.
Songs: Revolution, Helter Skelter, Hey Jude,
SCENE IX / MOVING ON
The decade climaxes as the group itself splits apart. Their songs, now individual statements, are reflective of their own personal choices and lifestyles, while the wealth of collective material remains, painting a spectrum of images ranging from the innocent of the innovators, from the celebrities to the outlaws; always growing, creating and moving beyond their audiences.
Songs: I Am The Walrus, The Long And Winding Road, Let It Be,
(Encores were played in several road versions of the show.)
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".
- 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
- Joe Palermo
- Mitch Weissman
- Reed Kailing
- Lenie Colacino
- Alan LeBoeuf
- Glen Burtnick
- Tony Kishman
- Joey Curatolo
- Jim Odom
- Bobby Grant
- David Grahame
- Don Linares
- Jim Cushing
- John Redgate
- Billy J. Ray
- Les Fradkin
- P.M. Howard
- Jim Owens
- Tom Teeley
- Rob Laufer
- Bobby Diebold
- Richie Gomez
- Jimmy Pou
- Bob Miller
- Peter Santora
- Chris Gavin
- Joe Bithorn
- Richi Ray
- Justin McNeil
- Bobby Taylor
- Bennett Gale
- Louie Colucci
- Ralph Castelli
- Sy Goraieb
- Bobby Forte
- Al Sapienza
- Rick Bloom
- Phil LoMedico
- Gemma Press
Casts and casting became independent after 1984 as revival and current casts tour under many different Beatle-related nomenclatures.
Joe Palermo as John Lennon
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Dan Geraus as Ringo Starr
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- The Cast of Beatlemania — A Beatles tribute band formed in 1980 from former cast members.