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NY1 Theater Review: "Let It Be"

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The music of the Beatles returns to Broadway with the arrival of the new show, "Let It Be." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

Fans of "Rain," the Beatles tribute show that played Broadway recently may be eager to see "Let It Be," yet another Beatlemania type performance. Then again, audiences may find themselves "Rain"-ed out.

The two shows cover almost the exact same material and "Rain" closed only two years ago. Factoring in the ticket price, it's hard to justify spending all that money on another concert act with imitation music when you can stay home and listen to the real thing for free.

Some 40 of the band's greatest numbers are performed in roughly chronological order, covering the Beatles' earliest days in Liverpool, the Ed Sullivan appearance, Shea Stadium, the Sgt. Pepper phase and their hippie years.

As tribute bands go, I don't have many qualms about the musical part of it. With adequately talented performers and meticulous orchestrations, "Let It Be" is likely to feed the karaoke cravings of many fans.

What I object to is the unimaginative way it was conceived and produced. The Beatles contributed far more than a bunch of great songs. They were cultural touchstones defining an incredibly vital decade in this country. To truly appreciate them and their music, any real tribute or "celebration" as this show is billed, needs to supply more context than montage sequences featuring commercials and looped videos of screaming '60s fans.

The entire production resonates "cheap." The set and blaring lights have a Vegas-y feel with simplistic projections that make the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" animations look state-of-the-art by comparison. And slapping on some recognizable costumes and wigs only serve to remind us what's missing.

Fans seeking nostalgic thrills may be satisfied, but I was disappointed. For a show with all that amped up wattage, "Let It Be" displays a surprising lack of electricity.

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