Rain at Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, 2016
From left to right: Paul Curatolo (Paul), Alastar McNeil (George), Aaron Chiazza (Ringo), Jimmy Irizarry (John)
|Origin||Laguna Beach, California|
|Genres||Rock and Roll|
Ian B. Garcia
Victor J Campanaro
|A Tribute to the Beatles|
Playbill for the Broadway production
|Basis||The career and music of The Beatles|
|Awards||2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue|
Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, styled RAIN, is a Beatles tribute and later a theatrical production. Rain gives audiences the experience of seeing Beatles' songs performed live that were never done so by the band itself. The longest-running Beatles tribute act, it predates the popular Broadway show Beatlemania by several years.Rain has played Broadway, and toured for years.
The show takes the form of a roughly chronological history of The Beatles via their music. About 30 songs are performed during the show. Other than some onstage banter, there is very little dialogue during the production, which consists mostly of exact re-enactments of the Beatles' music. The multimedia production uses high-definition backdrops that feature psychedelic effects, vintage television commercials, and video footage of Rain cast members recreating iconic Beatle moments. For legal reasons, Rain never calls its performers the names of the actual members of The Beatles.
Each production of Rain features two performers for each member of the Beatles, who alternate shows; plus an off-stage keyboardist to replicate the studio sounds familiar from later Beatles records.
Rain began in 1975 as Reign, a Laguna Beach, California, band that played both original music and Beatles covers. Founding members were Mark Lewis, Eddie Lineberry, Bill Connearney, Grant Belotti, Chuck Coffey, and Steve Wight. (Connearney, Belotti, Lineberry, and Alan Hawley had been members of a prior band known as Lucky Dogs.) The name of the band, "Reign/Rain," is a reference to the 1966 Beatles single "Rain," the B-side of "Paperback Writer."
Co-founder and keyboardist Mark Lewis managed the band, became its lead arranger, and found Rain a regular weekly gig doing Beatles covers at the Mine Shaft in Calabasas, California, Before long Rain had a following of Beatles fans around the Los Angeles/Orange County area, and soon extended up the West Coast as far as Seattle.
As the band developed a reputation, they performed at the 1978 The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. In 1979, producer Dick Clark hired Rain members to record exact Beatles covers for the Richard Marquand film Birth of the Beatles.
By 1980, Lewis had built the band into a long-standing touring tradition. The lineup of Rain remained constant until 1980, with Lineberry playing John Lennon, Coffey playing Paul McCartney, Connearney playing George Harrison, and Belotti playing Ringo Starr (with Lewis playing keyboards behind the scenes). Joey Curatolo joined Rain in 1978, sharing the role of Paul with Coffey; Curatolo is still a current member of Rain.
Lineberry left Rain in 1980, and Coffey, Connearney, and Belotti all left in 1982. Joe Bithorn joined the group as "George" in 1983, and is still with Rain. Ralph Castell joined Rain in 1986 as Ringo, and is still with the show.
In 2001 the Rain Corporation took over management of the band. In 2005, management met with producer Jeff Parry to expand the tribute band's scope -- which at that point was mostly doing concerts at casinos -- and develop a Broadway-style production in the manner of 1977's Beatlemania. The result of this planning eventually became the 2010 Broadway run.
In 2008, Pollstar listed Rain at number 17 in its yearly "Pollstar's Hot Top 20" for overall tickets sales of a touring show, band, or production.
In 2009, on the eve of Rain moving to Broadway, the Rain Corporation and Parry's Annerin Productions agreed to produce a West End theatre version of the show, with both sides splitting the profits 50-50.
Rain ran on Broadway for 300 shows (and 8 preview performances), first at the Neil Simon Theatre on October 26, 2010 - January 15, 2011, then at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on February 8, 2011 - July 31, 2011.
In 2012, Parry/Annerin Productions put on Let It Be, a Beatles "concert experience" that played in London's West End. In 2013, on the eve of Let It Be coming to Broadway, the Rain Corporation filed a copyright suit against Parry and his fellow Let It Be producers. Rain claimed that Let It Be was essentially the same concept as Rain, with similar artwork, costumes, and virtually the same song repertoire, and that Rain was entitled to 50% of Let It Be's profits." Parry and Annerin instead proposed giving Rain Corporation 7.5% of their profits. The case was settled out of court.
The show begins with the four actors portraying an early version of The Beatles' appearance at the Cavern Club in 1962. When this scene closes, The Beatles journey to America, beginning their tour at The Ed Sullivan Show. Moving forward, The Beatles' directions are changing musically while their band grows in popularity performing their largest concert at New York City's Shea Stadium. Subsequent scenes use hallucinogenic and psychedelic designs to represent The Beatles' ever increasing experimentation with substances and Eastern philosophies. The show culminates with the breakup of the group and the end of the 1960s.