Entertainment & Arts

Beatles musical launches in London

Performers from Let It Be pictured in central London
Image caption Let It Be will open for a limited period from September

A new tribute show celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first single has had its London launch ahead of its West End premiere next month.

Four of the 10 performers who will share the lead roles in Let It Be took to the rooftop bar of a London hotel to perform six of the Fab Four's hits.

Organisers intended the event to mirror the band's 1969 performance on top of the Apple Building on Savile Row.

Let It Be begins previews at the Prince of Wales theatre on 14 September.

The show inherits the venue from the long-running musical Mamma Mia!, which is shortly to transfer to the Novello.

The show, which features a number of Abba hits, is often described as a "jukebox musical" - one that uses popular songs to score what is often a fresh storyline.

Later this year the West End will see the premiere of Viva Forever!, a show in a similar vein that will feature the songs of the Spice Girls.

Let It Be producer Jamie Hendry, however, was keen not to have the "jukebox" tag appended to his production, previously staged on Broadway under the title Rain.

"It's a term I thought we would be tarnished with," he told the BBC News website on Thursday. "We call the show a theatrical concert.

"We're not shoehorning the musical around a book," he continued, referring to the theatrical term for a script for a musical with a story.

The performers chosen to portray Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison were selected after an international talent search.

"It's all about the music," continued Hendry. "We weren't looking for lookalikes, but for guys who could recreate every nuance and movement."

At Thursday's event, the role of "Paul" was played by Emanuelle Angeletti, from Civita Castellana near Rome.

The 37-year-old Italian called his casting "destiny", having had the opportunity to record at Abbey Road studios - the historic 'home' of The Beatles - seven years ago.

The role of "George", meanwhile, was taken by Stephen Hill, from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

"Hearing is believing," the 30-year-old said of the show. "You've got to believe you're seeing The Beatles for two hours.

"If it's not done right, it's going to look and sound like a sack of spanners."

More than 30 Beatles tracks will be included in the show, among them such standards as Twist and Shout, A Hard Day's Night, Yesterday and Daytripper.

"It's a story in music basically," Hill continued. "From 1962 to 1970 you get the full picture."

The show marks the first time the theatrical rights to The Beatles' back catalogue have been granted to a West End show.

Their music also forms the basis to the Cirque Du Soleil show Love, which was first staged in Las Vegas in 2006.

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