BWW Review: LET IT BE at Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts
The Beatles (or the next best thing existing) played KC's Kauffman Center this past weekend. The ersatz Fab Four treated a full auditorium to fifty-five memorable Beatles' melodies during their 2012 re-creation entitled "Let It Be."
"Let It Be" feels a great deal like a step through the portal of Mr. Peabody's "Way Back" machine. The audience instantly transports to February 9, 1964 in the Hammerstein Theater then housing Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" TV variety show and the U.S. live debut of the Beatles.
From a distance of fifty-four years and one month, the radical rock and roll British invasion seems sweet, tame, and kind of nostalgic. The music doesn't seem quite as revolutionary as it did once. All the great tunes are there from "She Loves You," to "I Want To Hold Your Hand," to "All My Loving." We follow the Beatles through the Hard Day's Night area, Shae Stadium, A Magical Mystery Tour, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The actors who impersonate John, Paul, George, and Ringo are all excellent. There is also a fifth Beatle who functions as a pure musician. Four of the five performers were members of either the original Broadway or London West End cast.
Neil Candelora from Chicago as Paul is the newcomer. JT Curtis debuted on Broadway as George. Chris McBurney as Ringo also played on Broadway and holds an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. Michael Gagliano was the original John Lennon doppelganger at the Prince of Wales Theater in the West End. Daniel Weiss as the fifth Beatle also hails from the Broadway cast.
This production is slick with multiple costumes, sets, projections, and excellent lighting. Like myself, much of the audience saw that original that 1964 original Ed Sullivan early Sunday evening. It was a realllllly big shew. And so is "Let It Be."
The Beatles stopped playing together as a band in 1970. It is surprising that we got to know them so well in the U.S. over just seven years and that we remember them so clearly.
Each of the Beatles went on to other endeavors. Paul and Ringo still perform. John was assassinated outside his New York apartment at the Dakota building in Manhattan. George died of Cancer.
The actors of "Let It Be" encouraged us to stand and dance and take out the flashlights on our phones as we might have during an authentic Beatle's concert back in the day. (In those days, we would have used Bic lighters.) But then many of us were there for the originals. Some of us swayed with the music. A few danced. Some shouldn't have. I almost hurt myself.
Photo courtesy of the "Let It Be" tour. Photo Paul Coltas