Further hammering the point that the 1960s have been over for a really, really long time, fans of the Beatles have for the last few years been noting the 50th anniversaries of various important moments in the band's history, especially their album releases.
Now that it's 2020, it means it's been 50 years since 1970, the year the Beatles released their final original music and officially broke up. The Fab Four have now been broken up for exponentially longer than the eight years they were together.
Of course, the Beatles have a much stronger legacy than most popular acts of the '60s, having created a catalog that's stood the test of time and appealed to younger generations who are in some cases the grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of the Beatles' original fans. It doesn't hurt that the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, continue to perform regularly, including in Philadelphia. There was even a Hollywood movie last year, Yesterday, about what would happen if only one guy in the world remembered the Beatles' music.
Now, Rain, the long-running Beatles tribute act, is touring a new show specifically focusing on 1969’s Abbey Road, which was the final album recorded by the band (though Let It Be, recorded first, was released later). That tour hit the Kimmel Center's Merriam Theater March 13 through 15, and we talked to the man playing Paul—who happens to be named Paul.
The Walrus Was Paul
Paul Curatolo, who portrays Paul McCartney in the show, isn't merely a second-generation Beatles fan. His father, Joey, played Paul in the Rain show when it first became a touring production in the early 1980s, and was also its musical director.
The younger Curatolo, 30, is now part of the tour, and that doesn't merely entail portraying McCartney on stage and singing his songs. He plays guitar and bass, while also mimicking the Beatle's mannerisms. Though while his name is Paul and his father played Paul, Curatolo is not named after Paul McCartney-he was actually named after relatives.
Curatolo, in an interview, said he's noticed that audiences of "Rain" have encompassed four different generations of fans who have gotten to appreciate the Beatles' music over the decades-even if they've discovered it on different musical platforms. Curatolo said he first heard the Beatles on cassettes and CDs, and later on mp3s, although the crowd this weekend is likely to include some who heard them on records, eight-tracks, Spotify and numerous other formats.
The performer calls the show "a 21st-century version of… the Beatles anthology, in a live Broadway production." The show will follow the entirety of Beatles history, "through their most iconic singles and performances."
This particular tour, while it won't shy away from the rest of the group's history, is focusing on the Abbey Road album, and the production will include most of the album's songs, including “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer," "Here Comes the Sun," and the majority of Side 2. But he describes the show as a "jukebox musical" that goes through the entirety of Beatles' history.
"First and foremost, the music comes first," Curatolo said of the production, which also includes era-appropriate costumes. "Our attention to detail, to the actual sonic value of the music, is a number one. But the aesthetic is definitely a plus and is a lot of fun. For us, it's a lot of fun to feel like a Beatle, because we're fans first, and performers second."
What, When, Where:
”Rain: A Tribue to the Beatles – The Best of Abbey Road Performed Live," comes to the Merriam Theater, 250 South Broad St., March 13-15, 2020. Tickets are available online and by calling 215-893-1999.
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