Friday September 22nd 2017

“Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles” review by Carol Moore

rain-7289 Highly Recommended **** Although “RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles” has played in Chicago several times, for one reason or another, I’d never seen it.  I never knew what I was missing!  “RAIN” is not a jukebox musical created around the Beatles’ music, it is an actual concert!  People (including me!) were dancing in their seats, until “Twist and Shout”, when everyone stood up and danced!  4 BIG Spotlights

I can’t believe it’s the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band!”  Somehow, songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, the psychedelic music of my college years, have transitioned into timeless classics.  At any rate, this is your chance to see the entire album performed on stage (the Beatles never actually sang a lot of these songs in concert).  The show includes projections of old television footage, old commercials, Monty Python-ish graphics flying around during some songs, psychedelic shapes and colors during others.

“RAIN” is loosely chronological starting with the Beatles first exposure to American audiences on the Ed Sullivan Show.  In Act I, the band first wore dark suits with velvet collars and skinny ties, later changing into Nehru-style jackets.  Steve Landes as John, Paul Curatolo as Paul, Alastar McNeil as George and Aaron Chiazza as Ringo, performed a series of early Beatles hits starting with “She Loves You”, followed by “Please Please Me”, “From Me to You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “If I Fell”, “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You”, “Yesterday”, “Ticket to Ride”, “I Feel Fine”, “Day Tripper”, the dance-worthy “Twist and Shout”, “Got to Get You Into My Life”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Drive My car”, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and more.

The highlight of Act II – the bright colored, psychedelic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” costumes, complete with fringed epaulets and George’s tricorn hat with a long feather.  I liked the Abbey Road album cover clothes, too.

Act II included “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “With a Little Help From My Friends”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”, “Within You Without You”, “When I’m Sixty-Four”, “Lovely Rita”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Give Peace a Chance”, “Get Back”, “Revolution” and the encore, a sing-a-long “Hey, Jude”.RAIN_SullivanOrange_002_©RichardLovrich-300x208

I wish I’d heard “Help!”, Yellow Submarine” and “Michelle” and a couple of the songs from “Sgt. Pepper” were a little too ‘Maharishi’ for me but otherwise, it was perfect!  At intermission, a woman sitting near me said that anyone who didn’t stand up and dance should be fined!  We laughed but she wasn’t kidding!  Love of the Beatles helped to form instant friendship with the people sitting near me.  What a fun evening!

RAIN_Pepper_AlastarMcNeil_©RichardLovrich-200x300“Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” runs through April 2nd at the Oriental Theatre

24 W. Randolph Street, Chicago.

Running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes, with an intermission.

Remaining performances are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00 pm; Sunday at 2:00 and 7:30 pm.

Tickets range from $35-$75.  The least expensive parking option is the garage on Randolph between Michigan and Wabash.  FYI (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations, www.ticketmaster.com, and www.broadwayinchicago.com.

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