DOWNEY – When the touring show “In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” comes to the Downey Civic Theatre on Jan. 16, be on the lookout for two quartets -- not just one. The California High School (Whittier) string quartet has been chosen to join the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.
“In My Life” is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and featuring the live music of tribute band Abbey Road.
The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Jesse Wilder (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin.
The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the Orange County Register at one point declaring, “If you see one tribute show, see this one --smart and loads of fun.”
California High School senior Isabella Sierra and juniors Drew Kirkpatrick, Dawn Anoche and Ariel Ramos join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.”
In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.
The producers of “In My Life” approached California High School orchestra teacher Stephen Hill and invited the school’s quartet to perform with the show.
“In My Life” producers look for talented ensembles who can hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.
All quartet members are Beatles fans.
When Ramos was four years old, she was given a Barbie stereo which played the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
“I’ve been a Beatles fan ever since,” she said. Her favorite Fab Four tune is “Yesterday.
Kirkpatrick’s favorite Beatles song is “Yesterday.” “I’m very excited about performing this song in the show,” he said.
Anoche’s favorite Beatles song is also “Yesterday.”
“I was surprised and pleased to learn we get to play “Yesterday” in this show,” she said. “My earliest memories are of cleaning house with my mother with Beatles music blasting in the background.”
“In My Life” takes the audience back to February 1964, when Americans saw the Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show, playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Progressing through their various musical stages, the audience re-experiences the psychedelic era of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the creation of the haunting “Yesterday” and the raucous rock and roll of “Revolution.”
More than just a Beatles tribute concert, “In My Life” gives the audience a chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of the Beatles - from Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, to the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium’s 50,000-plus screaming fans and their final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp offices.
With manager Brian Epstein serving as Narrator, “In My Life” allows the audience to get a glimpse inside the world of the Beatles from their point of view, as well as hear some of the greatest songs ever written.
“In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” comes to the Downey Civic Theatre on Friday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$55 and may be purchased online at downeytheatre.com, by phone at (562) 861-8211 or at the box office.
The show is appropriate for all ages. The California High School string quartet will accompany on stage with five songs.
Published: Dec. 25, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 37