January 29, 2009
By CYNTHIA M. ELLIS
ST. LOUIS - Four friends will "come together" to perform a musical
journey of one of rock 'n' roll's greatest acts.
You're invited to come and watch two nights of tuneful treks next
week with the Fab Four in "Rain - A Tribute to The Beatles" at the
Fox Theater. The tribute show on Feb. 4 and 5 will cover the British
invasion band from their first appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show"
to Abbey Road.
"Rain" began as an offshoot of the Broadway production of
"Beatlemania" and has grown into one of the highest-grossing acts of its kind.
The quartet first started in 1979, when Dick Clark hired a session
band to perform songs for his "Birth of the Beatles." At that time,
the band had no affiliation with a Broadway production; however, when
the show closed in 1982, cast members began to join "Rain."
Ralph Castelli, who portrayed Ringo Starr in "Beatlemania" and is
also the drummer in the current production, recently took time out of
his busy schedule to talk about the show and what eventgoers can expect.
"It's a really great show," Castelli said.
Castelli, who grew up in California, said from the moment he watched
Ringo play with The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show," he found his
calling. He said as he grew older, he played with various bands, then
was spotted and given a lifetime opportunity to portray the
percussionist in "Beatlemania."
His drum technique, style, humor, appearance and all his hard work
had paid off.
"I am really lucky," Castelli said. "I love what I do and have been
fortunate to still be doing it for more than 20 years."
The show is a multi-media, multi-dimensional event that features five
different scene and costume changes, three video screens and live
camera project, combining television commercials and historical video
footage from the 1960s.
"The music is first and foremost in the production," Castelli said.
The first act takes audiences back to the Beatles' stage set from the
1964 "Ed Sullivan Show." Following a brief interlude of songs from
the movie "Hard Day's Night," the band then is thrust into New York's
Shea Stadium for the group's best-attended concert.
The third set features the music and colorful costumes of the "Sgt.
Pepper" era. With the use of sophisticated sound and lighting,
audiences will experience the music, energy and excitement of seeing
The Beatles live in concert - something that The Beatles themselves
never did during this period. In fact, The Beatles stopped touring
after 1966 and never performed the music of "Sgt. Pepper" live.
The fourth set features the group's interest in meditation and the
"Summer of Love." The show will wrap up with the band's journey on
Castelli said that one of the great things about playing in the
production is that not only do they play well together, but they have
remained friends. Other members of the band are Joey Curatolo (Paul
McCartney,) Joe Bithorn (George Harrison,) Steve Landes (John Lennon)
and friend Mark Lewis on keyboards and percussion.