BACKBEAT to Begin Previews at CTG's Ahmanson Theatre This Sunday, 1/20

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Previews begin this Sunday, January 20, for the U.S. premiere of "Backbeat," the dramatic new play with music about the birth of one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands in history, the Beatles. "Backbeat" begins performances January 20 and continues through March 1, 2013. The opening is set for January 30.

Featuring the all-time rock 'n' roll classics that the Beatles cut their teeth on - "Money," "Long Tall Sally," "Twist and Shout," "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Please Mr. Postman," "Rock 'n' Roll Music" and more, "Backbeat" is set in 1960 when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best (the drummer before Ringo Starr joined the group) and Stuart Sutcliffe (the band's original bassist) embarked on their journey from the docks of Liverpool to the red light district of Hamburg. There they worked in the clubs of the tawdry Reeperbahn, performing rock 'n' roll covers night after night, all the while honing what would become the Beatles' sound.

"Backbeat" is also the compelling story of Sutcliffe, who falls in love with the striking German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, and must choose between being with her and resuming his painting, or staying with his best friend, John Lennon, and playing in the band. This triangular relationship became an intrinsic part of the Beatles story, and the decisions made and the music played put them on an unstoppable trajectory onto the world stage.

The cast will feature Nick Blood (as Stuart Sutcliffe), Leanne Best (Astrid Kirchherr), Andrew Knott (John Lennon), Oliver Bennett (Pete Best), Daniel Healy (Paul McCartney) and Daniel Westwick (George Harrison). Rounding out the rest of the cast are ensemble members Edward Clarke, Josie Dunn, Sam Ford, Mark Hammersley, Perry Ojeda, Charlotte Palmer, Phil Pritchard, Dominic Rouse, Louise Shuttleworth, Adam Sopp, Charles Swift, James Wallace and Miranda Wilford.

"Backbeat" is co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys, based on the 1994 Universal Pictures film by Softley, Michael Thomas and Stephen Ward. "Backbeat" is directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux.

Design for "Backbeat" is by Andrew D. Edwards from an original concept by Christopher Oram, lighting design is by Howard Harrison and David Holmes, and sound design is by Richard Brooker.

"Backbeat" is presented by Karl Sydow in association with Glasgow Citizens Theatre, where it first opened in February 2010. "Backbeat" made its West End debut in London in October 2011. It will open in Toronto in July 2012. Following the presentation at the Ahmanson in early 2013, "Backbeat" will move to Broadway.

Tickets for "Backbeat" are available by calling (213) 972-4400, visiting online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets range from $20 - $110 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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