RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles is an intimate concert, and though it’s outside the norm for a Broadway production, RAIN is an exceptionally fun blast from the past for anyone who has found themselves humming along to the fab four’s many hits.
Now playing at Neil Simon Theatre, the show begins with an Ed Sullivan impersonator (Jerry Hoban) introducing the group from a giant television screen in an ode to their appearance on his show in 1964.
The band then performs diddies from Sgt. Pepper and the Abbey Road years. Steve Landes (John Lennon), Joey Curatolo (Paul McCartney), Joe Bithorn (George Harrison) and Ralph Castelli (Ringo Starr) are impeccable as The Beatles, and bring a sense of peace and happiness to an audience that encompasses three generations of Beatles fans.
The audience brings much of the energy to this show, as they scream, dance and rock out as though the real super group is in their midst.
Clapping was incessant during “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and the entire room drowned out the actors as they sang along to “Yesterday.” “Twist and Shout” has the audience out of their seats doing the twist in the aisles, the liveliness in the room impalpable.
The multi-media aspect of this concert begs one to wonder what an actual concert would have been like had The Beatles had the same technological wonders that we enjoy today.
Through historical footage and hilarious television commercials, audiences relive the era that defined rock and roll music.
The famous concert at Shea Stadium and the band’s rooftop days are relived through video screens. The audience even becomes part of the show as live video feed from the evening makes its way to large screens on stage.
In an age when many teenagers have never held an actual record, Paul reminds his fans that they will always be young at heart before launching into “When I’m 64.”
However, the irony in this statement became clear in a recent performance when Curatolo broke character to chastise someone for taking a phone call during the set.
“Is that phone call for me?” he asked the audience member, shaking his head in annoyance. “Take a message.”
RAIN is brilliant in part for the technology used to bring us back to a time free of such a distraction.
RAIN ends with “Let it Be,” a reminder that in all the years that have passed since The Beatles sent their messages of peace to the masses, our nation really hasn’t changed for the better, and their words of serenity and compassion are still pertinent in 2010.
Amidst peace signs and smiles, the guys’ awesome finale is “Hey Jude,” and the only complaint that might be heard is their neglecting to perform some of the group’s biggest hits (“Imagine” anyone?).
If one were to go in looking for a Broadway show, it would be best to head across the street to Jersey Boys. However, RAIN is a concert experience that won’t soon be forgotten.