“Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles” has returned for a two-night run at the Fox Theatre. And it’s a good thing, because we were supposed to go last year and my car battery died en route to the show. We were very disappointed because we’d always wanted to see the Beatles, and lacking a time machine we were willing to settle for the next best thing.
Normally we dress up for the theater but since this was more a concert than a play we thought we’d dress more appropriately. We even dug out our Union Jack T-shirts that we bought in London some years back. Turned out to be a good choice as many people admired them.
We also decided to make another attempt at dinner at the City Diner before the show. We arrive 90 minutes early and the place was once again packed. What’s the deal, City Diner? Do we really need to arrive 3 hours before a show in order to eat a meal there? ‘Cause that is not happening.
After another delicious Gyro Plate at the Best Steak House (City Diner’s loss is Best Steak House’s gain) we made our way across the street to the Fox. Thought about buying some $20 souvenir drumsticks because I’d really like a pair of drumsticks but decided I could probably get them cheaper elsewhere and I don’t really need drumsticks with the word RAIN painted on them.
Found our seats (aisle seats, my favorite) and enjoyed the ’60s pop tunes that were playing while reading the latest edition of Playbill. Sadly there was no Theater Quiz in this edition. (Did I mention that last time I got all the answers right in the Theater Quiz “Beauty and the Beast” edition? I was very proud.)
I was hoping the playbill would give an explanation as to why this production is named after an obscure Beatles tune that wasn’t even preformed in the show, but no luck. I guess it’s a better choice than “Piggies” or “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite.”
“Rain” is a multimedia extravaganza with dazzling lights, colorful costumes and video screens that provide context and humor and enhance what’s happening on stage. The show opens with the Fab Four’s performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The musicians — Steve Landes, Joey Curatolo, Joe Bithorn and Ralph Castelli — never refer to themselves as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison or Ringo Starr, but they offer spot-on imitations of them. Later on they are joined by Mark Beyer on keyboards and percussion.
After ripping through several early Beatles classics in sets designed to replicate the Sullivan show and the Shea Stadium concert, the faux-Four take an amusing commercial break while they change into Sgt. Pepper outfits. The first act concludes with a thunderous performance of “A Day In The Life.”
The second act focuses on the band’s post-Sgt. Pepper work. There are many opportunities throughout the show for sing-alongs, hand clapping and dancing. I was called a fuddy-duddy many times for not joining in but I maintain that I was simply observing critical distance. That and I’m uncomfortable dancing in public.
“Rain” is tremendous fun for Beatles fans. The musicians are perfect and the staging is clever. It’s so much better than taking a bunch of Beatles songs and shoehorning them into a story. Best of all, you can enjoy the show without putting up with the millions of screaming girls that ruined touring for the original band.
Unless Lennon and Harrison come back from the dead this is as close to seeing The Beatles live as you’ll ever get. And chances are, if all the Beatles were still alive and decided to tour, you probably couldn’t afford a ticket anyway.
Rain concludes its run tonight. http://www.fabulousfox.com/