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Let It Be at the St. James Theatre: Bealtemania Continues to Rain Down on Broadway

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Beatlemania is back! Let It Be the musical celebrates The Beatles at the St. James Theater (246 W 44th Street) in New York City. Soundpress.net attended an evening performance on July 29, 2013.

Let It Be at the St. James Theatre

The original Beatles worked hard in the early 1960's to be the "topper most" and they became one of the most influential rock groups of the ages. The Beatles officially broke up in 1970 but their music and story still inspires and is the reason why shows like Let It Be continue to draw crowds.

Let It Be is presented as a concert experience showcasing 40 of The Beatles' greatest hits. Let It Be is a career spanning set that takes fans down the long and winding road that began in Liverpool and ended on a roof top at 3 Savile Row in England.

The Let It Be story started at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Fab Four sporting their signature mop-top hair cuts ran through a quick series of early hits including a spirited "I Saw Her Standing There". Their tale continued as their success in the UK crossed over to the US with their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show where they performed "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" along with other songs from that period of Beatles history.

"A Hard Days Night" touched upon the fact that the lads from Liverpool made a number of popular musical films in their heyday. Up until this point the stage settings at the ornate St. James Theater have been mostly black and white similar to how the first media clips of The Beatles would have been.

At Shea Stadium, The Fab Four compel the theater crowd to clap and sing along to "Twist and Shout" and "Day Tripper". Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band heralded the psychedelic era. The band was wearing colorful uniforms and played the title track and other tunes from this seminal album. As the music became more complex so did the effects and lighting that complemented the songs.

Although the first half of Let It Be was in a concert format it had the flow of a story as it focused on key events in The Beatles' career. The second half picked up with more flower power and "All You Need is Love". The concert feel continued as the band frequently encouraged the crowd to participate by clapping, dancing and singing along.

The show also included an acoustic set filled with gems such as "Norwegian Wood" and "Here Comes The Sun". They joked that Eric Clapton could not be here tonight as they moved into a blazing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with a soaring guitar solo. A quick set change and we were on Abbey Road and one of the four was shoeless. "Come Together" was colorful and the audience was on their feet again for "Get Back" and "Revolution". As is often the custom at a concert there was an encore and theirs featured the band's namesake "Let It Be" among other classics.

Let It Be was a fun celebration of The Beatles. The four key musicians resembled The Fab Four both visually and vocally. Yes, there have been other Broadway productions that have presented a similar show - notably Rain and Beatlemania but they all carry on the legacy of the band and Let It Be effectively conveyed the energy and excitement of The Beatles and their music.

It would be interesting in the future to see a different approach in paying tribute to the Fab Four that is as revolutionary and dynamic as their music actually was. Until then, Let It Be continues the tradition of presenting a high-quality Beatles experience on the streets that launched them into history back in 1964.

Related Links: For more information on LET IT BE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Let It Be | St. James Theatre




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