After hosting Harry Connick Jr.’s concert special for two weeks in July, the Neil Simon Theatre is now welcoming another concert special to the Great White Way. The limited engagement “Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles” opened October 26 at the playhouse, where it is booked through January 9, 2011.
Presented as a concert rather than a jukebox musical, “Rain” chronologically presents more than 30 songs from the mop-topped band’s iconic catalogue. The show begins with a recreation of The Beatles’ famous “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance and continues up to its split in 1970, over a backdrop of archival footage from the 1960s and ’70s.
The production’s principal musicians and impersonators are Joey Curatolo (Paul McCartney), Steve Landes (John Lennon), Joe Bithorn (George Harrison), and Ralph Castelli (Ringo Starr). A fifth musician, Mark Beyer, provides support on the keyboards and percussion — with some critics likening him to the Billy Preston of the group.
The 1,448-seat playhouse was at 90 percent capacity for its initial week of previews, which began October 19. During its initial week, reported as the week ending October 24, the show grossed a total of $633,030 according to the Broadway League. Ticket prices range from $50 up to $120, and premium seating options are available at about $190.
Each concert lasts over two hours, with an intermission. Evening performances are staged at 8 p.m. on Monday and Thursday through Saturday, as well as at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Sunday. Matinees are also offered at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
In addition to the Broadway stint, “Rain” also has a touring group on the road at the moment. That troupe’s next performances are booked from November 3-7 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts in New Orleans, LA.
The Neil Simon Theatre is located at 250 West 52nd Street in New York, NY. More details about the Broadway and touring productions of “Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles” can be found on the show’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles”
|Variety||Steve Suskin||“[‘Rain’] should find enough diehard Beatles fans to fill the seats and sell the souvenirs, although there is little of the excitement or danger of the original foursome, or much electricity, either.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“…for the most part the music sounded like a reasonable sonic facsimile of the originals, minus anything resembling spontaneity or authenticity.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“The Beatles’ songs…have proven a lot more memorable — and, as ‘Rain’ proves at its best, more theatrical — than most Broadway scores of late.”|
|Hollywood Reporter||Frank Scheck||“Although purists might sneer at this concert/theatrical experience, there’s no denying that, as cover bands go, this is one of the best.”|
|TheaterMania||Dan Bacalzo||“They don’t attempt any bold reinterpretations of the material, instead serving up a concert that isn’t particularly ambitious but is nevertheless a crowd-pleasing spectacle…”|
|New York Post||Elisabeth Vincentelli||“Joey Curatolo (Paul) and Steve Landes (John) are exacting sound- and look-alikes, while Joe Bithorn (George) and Ralph Castelli (Ringo) are adept players but uneven singers.”|