It has been 50 years since the Beatles released their debut single, “Love Me Do.” In commemoration of this event, a new Beatles musical production is set to hit the stage in London’s West End later in 2012.
According to Playbill.com, “Let It Be” will open for a limited engagement on September 24, 2012 and will run through January 19, 2013, with previews beginning on September 14, 2012. The time frame coincides with the exact release date of “Love Me Do,” which occurred on October 5, 1962.
Hosting the production will be the Prince of Wales Theater, the site of the Beatles’ famous Royal Variety Performance in November 1963, where they performed for the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
Dubbed by its creators as a “theatrical concert” according to Reuters UK, the show will include both live performance and actual footage of the Beatles to trace the group’s rise to fame. The same Reuters report notes that this is the first time in history that full theatrical rights to the Beatles’ back catalogue have been granted to a West End production. London’s Jamie Hendry Productions is developing the show.
The show “Let It Be” grew out of the internationally top-selling Beatles tribute concert tour, “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles,” which itself had a Broadway run in 2010-2011. Lettie Graham, Assistant Producer for Jamie Hendry Productions, recently told TicketNews that the concert event was conceived when Hendry, a top British producer, approached the creators of “Rain” to collaborate on a new event marking this significant anniversary.
The show is creating quite a buzz among British fans and media alike. According to Graham, “Public response has been overwhelming, with ticket sales surpassing our expectations and the British press embracing the show.”
But the journey to this point has not always been smooth. The producers had to work to secure just the right venue for the show. “It was not easy,” claims Graham. “We had to wait for the Prince of Wales Theatre to become available, the venue of the 1963 Royal Variety Performance where John Lennon made his famous quote, ‘Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.'”
Casting has also proven to be a challenge, with several important notes that each performer must hit perfectly. “There is far more required than simply being an actor,” noted Graham. “The cast must play their instrument as well as the originals, look the part and sing like The Beatles; not an easy task.” According to Graham, producers are still in the process of casting for the show.
The show “Let it Be” will be jam-packed with top hits from the Fab Four, according to Broadwayworld.com. Featured songs will include everything from early favorites like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Twist and Shout,” and “When I’m 64,” to later hits such as “Come Together,” and, of course, “Let It Be.”
With beloved songs, top producers and developers, and a public still yearning to relive the Beatles’ best years, this show seems a ready-made success.