Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles
Rain performing at the UIS Sangamon Auditorium, Springfield Illinois, March 2019
From left to right: Paul Curatolo (Paul), Aaron Chiazza (Ringo), Alastar McNeil (George), Steve Landes (John)
|Also known as||Reign|
|Origin||Laguna Beach, California|
|Genres||Rock and Roll|
Ian B. Garcia
|Past members||Eddie Lineberry|
Victor J Campanaro
|A Tribute to the Beatles|
Playbill for the Broadway production
|Basis||The career and music of The Beatles|
|Awards||2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue|
Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, styled RAIN, is a Beatles tribute and later a theatrical production. Rain gives audiences the experience of seeing Beatles' songs performed live that were never done so by the band itself. The longest-running Beatles tribute act, it predates the popular Broadway show Beatlemania by several years. Rain has played Broadway, and toured for years.
The show takes the form of a roughly chronological history of The Beatles via their music. About 30 songs are performed during the show. Other than some onstage banter, there is very little dialogue during the production, which consists mostly of exact re-enactments of the Beatles' music. The multimedia production uses high-definition backdrops that feature psychedelic effects, vintage television commercials, and video footage of Rain cast members recreating iconic Beatle moments. For legal reasons, Rain never calls its performers the names of the actual members of The Beatles.
Each production of Rain features two performers for each member of the Beatles, who alternate shows; plus an off-stage keyboardist to replicate the studio sounds familiar from later Beatles records.
Rain began in 1975 as Reign, a Laguna Beach, California, band that played both original music and Beatles covers. Founding members were Mark Lewis, Eddie Lineberry, Bill Connearney, Grant Belotti, Chuck Coffey, and Steve Wight. (Connearney, Belotti, Lineberry, and Alan Hawley had been members of a prior band known as Lucky Dogs.) The name of the band, "Reign/Rain," is a reference to the 1966 Beatles single "Rain," the B-side of "Paperback Writer."
Co-founder and keyboardist Mark Lewis managed the band, became its lead arranger, and found Rain a regular weekly gig doing Beatles covers at the Mine Shaft in Calabasas, California, Before long Rain had a following of Beatles fans around the Los Angeles/Orange County area, and soon extended up the West Coast as far as Seattle.
As the band developed a reputation, they performed at the 1978 The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. In 1979, producer Dick Clark hired Rain members to record exact Beatles covers for the Richard Marquand film Birth of the Beatles.
By 1980, Lewis had built the band into a long-standing touring tradition. The lineup of Rain remained constant until 1980, with Lineberry playing John Lennon, Coffey playing Paul McCartney, Connearney playing George Harrison, and Belotti playing Ringo Starr (with Lewis playing keyboards behind the scenes). Joey Curatolo joined Rain in 1978, sharing the role of Paul with Coffey; Curatolo is still a current member of Rain.
Lineberry left Rain in 1980, and Coffey, Connearney, and Belotti all left in 1982. Joe Bithorn joined the group as "George" in 1983, and is still with Rain. Ralph Castell joined Rain in 1986 as Ringo, and is still with the show.
In 2001 the Rain Corporation took over management of the band. In 2005, management met with producer Jeff Parry to expand the tribute band's scope — which at that point was mostly doing concerts at casinos — and develop a Broadway-style production in the manner of 1977's Beatlemania. The result of this planning eventually became the 2010 Broadway run.
In 2009, on the eve of Rain moving to Broadway, the Rain Corporation and Parry's Annerin Productions agreed to produce a West End theatre version of the show, with both sides splitting the profits 50-50.
Rain ran on Broadway for 300 shows (and 8 preview performances), first at the Neil Simon Theatre on October 26, 2010 – January 15, 2011, then at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on February 8, 2011 – July 31, 2011.
In 2012, Parry/Annerin Productions put on Let It Be, a Beatles "concert experience" that played in London's West End. In 2013, on the eve of Let It Be coming to Broadway, the Rain Corporation filed a copyright suit against Parry and his fellow Let It Be producers. Rain claimed that Let It Be was essentially the same concept as Rain, with similar artwork, costumes, and virtually the same song repertoire, and that Rain was entitled to 50% of Let It Be's profits." Parry and Annerin instead proposed giving Rain Corporation 7.5% of their profits. The case was settled out of court.
The show begins with the four actors portraying an early version of The Beatles' appearance at the Cavern Club in 1962. When this scene closes, The Beatles journey to America, beginning their tour at The Ed Sullivan Show. Moving forward, The Beatles' directions are changing musically while their band grows in popularity performing their largest concert at New York City's Shea Stadium. Subsequent scenes use hallucinogenic and psychedelic designs to represent The Beatles' ever increasing experimentation with substances and Eastern philosophies. The show culminates with the breakup of the group and the end of the 1960s.
- Eddie Lineberry (1974–1980) — performed on Birth of the Beatles
- Jim Riddle (1983–died 1997) — also performed with Beatlemania
- Steve Landes (1998–present) —originally from Philadelphia; joined Beatlemania at age 17
- Jimmy Irizarry
- David Leon (c. 2009)
- Tim Piper (c. 2009)
- Chuck Coffey (1974–1982) — performed on Birth of the Beatles
- Joey Curatolo (1978–present) – originally from Brooklyn; toured with the Broadway production of Beatlemania; father of Paul Curatolo
- Robert "Mac" Ruffing — also played with 1964 the Tribute and Beatlemania
- Graham Alexander (2010–2011) — originally from New Jersey; member of the 2010 Broadway production
- Alan LaBoeuf (c. 2009)
- Paul Curatolo (2014–present) — originally from Reno; son of Joey Curatolo (who also played Paul); member of the pop band Wayward; plays the bass left-handed like McCartney
- Ian B. Garcia — native of Viña del Mar, Chile
- Bill Connearney (1974–1982) — performed on Birth of the Beatles; now deceased
- Joe Bithorn (1983–present) — originally from New York; toured with Beatlemania
- Tom Teeley— also played with Beatlemania and Classical Mystery Tour
- Alastar McNeil — native of Oahu, Hawaii; member of the band Kupa'aina. His grand aunt was Broadway chorus dancer Ruth Sato.
- Jimmy Pou — originally from Miami; was a member of Beatlemania
- Grant Belotti (1974–1982) — now deceased
- Steve Wight (1979) — performed on Birth of the Beatles
- Ralph Castelli (1986–present) — originally from Southern California; toured with Beatlemania; played Ringo in Beatlemania: The Movie
- Aaron Chiazza — former member of Paul Curatolo's band Wayward
- Douglas Cox — originally from Missouri and Texas
- Joe Bologna (c. 2009)
- Chris McBurney
Keyboards / percussion
- Mark Lewis (1975 – present) — founding member and musical arranger of Rain; retired from performing in 2010 to concentrate on managing the show
- Mark Beyer
- Chris Smallwood – originally from Kentucky
- Murray, Sarah-Jane. "Lessons from RAIN, a Tribute to the Beatles," MoviGuide (2014). Accessed March 5, 2016.
- Arkell, Harriet. "Two Beatles tribute acts locked in legal fight over who first came up with idea of ‘jukebox musical’ Let it Be stage show," Daily Mail (July 17, 2013).
- Wilson, Debra Minor "'Rain — A Tribute to Beatles' set Monday," Times West Virginian (March 13, 2014).
- Sion, Mike. "Rain: New generation takes reins of Beatles tribute," Reno Gazette-Journal (January 23, 2015).
- Isherwood, Charles. "Another Long and Winding Detour," New York Times (October 26, 2010).
- Jones, Chris. "'Let It Be': Why show coming to Rosemont is a Beatles 'celebration'," Chicago Tribune (February 19, 2015).
- Marinucci, Steve. "Tribute band Rain isn't the Beatles, but they play them -- and very successfully," Examiner.com (October 18, 2010).
- Grode, Eric. "Can’t Buy Me Love? A Lawsuit Debates It: A Beatles Tribute Show Seeks Half the Revenues of Another," New York Times (July 15, 2013).
- Internet Broadway Database
- Gioia, Michael. "Producers of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles File Copyright Infringement Suit Against Broadway's Let It Be," Playbill (July 16, 2013).
- Lamar, Andre (November 8, 2012). "Graham Alexander to debut at the Kennett Flash". Dover Post.
- McNeil, Aloha (January 26, 2016). "Phone Interview with Aloha McNeil". Chicago, Illinois.