By MIKE CHAIKEN
Take a journey through the musical legacy of The Beatles this month as “The Cast of Beatlemania” steps onto the stage at Memorial Boulevard School’s theater on June 20.
The group features members of the Broadway and touring companies of the stage musical, “Beatlemania.”
The two leaders of the group have been performing the music of the Beatles for nearly three decades. And it’s something they have yet to grow tired of, they said in phone interviews.
“It’s such an honor and privilege,” said Carlo Cantamessa—who plays John Lennon— about playing Beatles music long after he wrapped up his gig with “Beatlemania.”
“We have a general love for this music,” said Lenie Colacino, who plays Paul McCartney and who was in the original New York production of “Beatlemania.”
“We get jazzed up here playing this stuff,” said Carlo. “It’s as close as we can get to be The Beatles.”
Lenie explained, “We grew up with it (the music). It’s part of our DNA for those of us who grew up in the 1960s. It was the best time to be young if you like music… I never grew tired of it.”
When The Cast—which also includes onstage Jim Filgate (George Harrison) and John Delgato (Ringo Starr)—performs, Carlos said audiences will hear The Beatles’ music starting in 1963. The fans will hear such songs as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “From Me to You.” By the end of the first act, said Carlo, The Beatles are coming out of the “Revolver”-era, setting the stage for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in 1967. The second act begins with music from “Sgt. Pepper,” continues through the “Magical Mystery Tour” album, and eventually concludes with songs from “Abbey Road.”
Along the way, said Carlo, not only does the band play the music of the different Beatles’ eras, the band dresses in the costumes of those eras. They wear the identical suits of the early days, he said. They then change into the costumes everyone recognizes from “Sgt. Pepper.” They end the show looking like The Beatles from the cover of “Abbey Road.”
Not only do the members of The Cast play the music, said Carlo, they perform in character. And their characters evolve as the music evolves.
Lenie said he had an acting background before he was cast in the Broadway version of “Beatlemania.”
And that show wasn’t just about the music but about the story of The Beatles.
“We had a lot of training in ‘Beatlemania’… getting the stage persona right,” said Lenie. “We watched the Beatles and listened to their stage patter… I engage the audience as McCartney would… I watched how he behaves.”
Asked what sets his band apart from other bands playing the music of the Beatles, Carlo said The Cast of Beatlemania is considered one of the top Beatles bands around the world.
The band also has nearly three decades of performing experience. “We’re not Johnny-Come-Latelys,” said Lenie.
In addition, said Lenie, “We’re dedicated to getting it right… We’re constantly fine tuning things.”
Making a pitch for the show in Bristol, Lenie said, “I don’t need to convince people that Beatles music is great. It will last as only great music will last… If you like the Beatles all, you’ll be satisfied (by The Cast). It’s great, great music.”
“This is a great show,” said Carlo.
“The Cast of Beatlemania” will perform Saturday, June 20 at Memorial Boulevard School theater, Memorial Boulevard, Bristol at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call (860) 584-4718 or go to TicketRiver.com for tickets. Tickets also available at the Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Edgewood Market, Barley Vine, and City True Value Hardware, all in Bristol.