Friday, 28 September 2012

New Book on George Harrison by Kevin Roach




George Harrison - 

That's The Way God Planned It 

Kevin Roach 




This new book by author Kevin Roach (The McCartneys In The Town Where They Were Born and The Beatles Living In The Eye Of The Hurricane) is a fascinating look at the family history of George Harrison, starting in the year 1902 with the marriage of George's Grandparents, this book delves deep into the history than any other book.

The author, who has worked on the research of the Martin Scorsese film 'Living In A Material World' looks into George early childhood, and covers the major events in George's life, and takes you on a journey which explains how George was the driving force within The Beatles.

For more details and to view the first two chapters of 'George Harrison - That's The Way God Planned It' click here: http://www.beatlesliverpoolandmore.com/george-harrison---thats-the-way-god-planned-it-ebook.html


For more information and reviews of Kevin's other books click here

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review: Let It Be, Prince of Wales Theatre, London



Review by Ernie Sutton
 PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE - LONDON

Having been to many Beatle plays and musicals over the years, ever since my first one, “John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert” in 1974, I wondered what this take on the Beatles would bring.

As I took my seat in the very same theatre The Beatles played their only Royal Variety Show on November 4th 1963, it was hard to believe they played in such a small venue at that time and how fans didn’t surge the stage with the Beatlemania that had gripped Britain that year.

Before the show I watched as 2 giant TV screens on each side of the stage showed questions about The Fab Four, with multiple choice answers. The know it all fan would know them all, but for a member of the public not familiar with the story, there were some easy ones and some difficult ones. The frame of the TVs replicated a 1960s style TV, and would relay the images from the forthcoming show as well as some cartoons and provide entertainment with 1960s TV ads during costume changes, including a fish fingers ad featuring Alf Garnet (alias Warren Mitchell) and daughter Rita (alias Una Stubbs). Warren, of course, was in the film “Help!”

As the curtains opened, there stood Michael Gagliano (John), Emanuele Angeletti (Paul), John Brosnan (George) and Gordon Elsmore (Ringo). Dressed in 1963 suits John introduced the show saying it was great to be back at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and proceeded to ask the people in the cheaper seats to clap their hands- and the rest to rattle their jewellery. “She Loves You” kicked off the evening, followed by a medley of the hits from 1963. It was as if I had been transported back in time to that Royal Variety Show all those years before.




This was purely a concert on stage, with The Beatles story being told by what they did best- making music. The 1964 period features songs from “A Hard Day’s Night”, with George singing “I’m Happy Just to Dance with you”. Indeed George’s song writing appeared to be overlooked in the first half of the show, with this song his only contribution on vocals to this section- and this was a Lennon/McCartney composition.

1965 featured a change of costume and scenery as we were all but put into Shea Stadium- images of screaming fans adorned the TV screens at the side as the boys played a number of songs including “Day Tripper” which wasn’t released at the time of the original concert. However, such a great song would not really have fitted elsewhere in the show. A number of the songs were shortened. Just as you were about to join in and sing the last verse, the song would end. The logic in this though is that more Beatle classics could be played. Paul also did a solo of “Yesterday” being introduced by the other Beatles in a similar way to that “Big Night Out” performance in the 60s.




1966 was virtually ignored, including most of the “Revolver” album, which in some polls in the number one Beatles album. Indeed only “Eleanor Rigby” made it into the show. Again all of George’s material was not included. This was a pity as George was by now developing into a great writer, but George would have his moment later in the show.

As 1966 concluded, the curtains came down and we entered a 20 minute break.

Part two started in 1967 with the band in Sgt Pepper outfits. Songs from this album would dominate the start of this section, with Ringo getting his one and only singing part with “With a Little Help from My Friends”. “Sgt Pepper”, Lucy in the Sky”, “When I’m 64”, A Day in the Life”, “Sgt Pepper-reprise” all featured. John then took to the piano for “All You Need is Love”. By now a 5th member Ryan Alex Farmery is on stage to play the additional instruments needed with the band for these more complex songs.




The band were clearly enjoying themselves and after a few more songs including “Strawberry Fields” and “Magical Mystery Tour”, the band entered a final costume change and emerged with John, Paul and George sat on chairs with acoustic guitars and Ringo at the back on drums.

A wonderful rendition of “Blackbird” and an all in all great acoustic section ended with “Here Comes the Sun” and the acoustic version of “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”, which then transformed half way through to the electric version we more commonly know. If anything the cheers at the end of this song were the biggest of the night.




As we entered the final part songs from “Abbey Road”, including the medley and “Come Together”, as well as “Get Back” which really got the place rocking . The climax was a rendition of “Give Peace a Chance”, the only solo recording in the show. Before I knew it 2 and a half hours had passed and the show was over- or was it?

There was an encore of “Let it be”, of course. But after taking a standing ovation we were treated to “Hey Jude” as well, with Paul and the band performing as if it was the Paul of today, asking the girls to join in then the boys and even John then saying “now the Under 9’s” for the na na na bit.

I have to say the musicianship was great and we were allowed to get up and dance part way through which added to the enjoyment. I do have to say though of all the great musicianship though the drumming was quite brilliant throughout. There were a few minor hiccups, but these were dismissed in John’s humorous way.

The backdrops too were well put together, including some “Yellow Submarine” type imagery, to bring a Beatle concert to London, covering their entire 7 recording years. (Yes that’s all it was). As lookalikes, yes they would pass the audition too.

A downside to the show? Well it’s the songs that were left out. (e.g. No “Penny Lane”, no “Something”, virtually nothing from “Revolver”, no “Back in the USSR”). Having said that, I think all Beatles fans have had that feeling when they have seen Paul, and I too when I’ve seen Ringo- (will he play Octopus’s Garden sometime?). With so much great material some people’s favourites will not be here. But the music that is there far outweighs the ones that aren’t. Indeed we are treated to some tracks seldom played by tribute bands such as “Revolution” and “Two of us”.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the music of The Beatles, or who just wants to experience a concert/show with some of the finest music produced in the 1960s.

For more information, and to book tickets, visit the official website for 
Let It Be: 

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Quarrymen at the Castle, London

452 FINCHLEY ROAD LONDON NW11 8DG 020 8455 3501 www.thecastlerocks.co.uk







Friday 12th October

The band are in London for a private personal appearance, but as they have not played in London since 2005, they decided to do a public gig - and chose The Castle.

THE BAND - the Original guys!

Colin Hanton - Drums (1956 - 59) Colin was in the final line up before the band changed their name to The Beatles along with John, Paul, George and John Duff Lowe. This line up recorded "Inspite Of All The Danger" and "That'll Be The Day" which appeared on Anthology 1. His original white Broadway Drum Kit is on exhibition in The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool.

Len Garry - Guitar & Vocals. Len played Tea-Chest Bass from 1956 to 1958.

Rod Davis - Guitar & Vocals. Rod played Banjo in the band from 1956 to mid 1958.

Saturday 6th July 1957: The day John met Paul

John Duff Lowe - Keys. John was invited by Paul to play piano in 1958 and was on the Percy Phillips' recording mentioned above.

This gig will be promoted by The Quarrymen, The British Beatles Fan Club, Beatle's Coffee Shop and will have press and radio coverage.

The week before, Friday 5th October the BBC will be marking the DVD release of the "Magical Mystery Tour" with an Arena Special.

(Leslie Cavendish* recorded his interview for the programme at The Castle!)

The private engagement will get press coverage as well!


Tickets are £12.50 in advance & £15.00 on the door

£10.00 in advance for British Beatles Fan Club members.

£12.50 on the door - with BBFC Membership card.

For tickets Tx 07831 772852 and we will call you back.







SECOND ACTOR ANNOUNCED FOR EPSTEIN: THE MAN WHO MADE THE BEATLES




The producers of Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles are delighted to announce the second actor who will appear alongside Andrew Lancel (who stars as Brian Epstein) in the brand new play about the legendary Beatles manager at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre this November.

Newcomer Will Finlason will take on the role of ‘This Boy’, the fictional second character. He’s the boisterous soul of 60s Liverpool with far too much energy, talent and to say for himself – his searching questions and commentary don’t just guide us through Brian’s life, they make us feel every moment of his times and makes them shine!



Jen Heyes, co-creator and director said: “I’m so delighted to have found Will after a rigorous and long audition process. The right man for the role needed to be not only a skilled actor but also a great guitarist and singer, and Will very much fits this criteria. From the start we wanted to discover an exciting new talent to play This Boy and with the play being a ‘two-hander’, it was vital for the actor to have good synergy with and complement Andrew Lancel as Brian Epstein. I certainly think we’ve found this in Will.”

Will Finlason trained at the Manchester School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In his final year he played Prior Walter in Tony Kushner's much acclaimed ‘Angels in America’ and the title role in Stephen Sondheim's ‘Sweeney Todd’. Since graduating in June he has appeared in ‘The Last Train to Tomorrow’, an original work by Carl Davis CBE, which was premiered by the Halle Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester during the summer.

Will said: I’m just thrilled to be a part of such a new and exciting piece of theatre! The part itself is a dream come true and having strong family connections with Liverpool makes it all the more special to be making my professional debut in a city so close to my heart.”

Running from 15 November – 1 December 2012 at Liverpool’s newly reopened Epstein Theatre, Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles is brought to you by Bill Elms & Jen Heyes Productions Ltd (Tales from Haunted Liverpool, Tales From Charles Dickens), written by Andrew Sherlock (Wall Talks and The Shankly Show) and created and directed by Jen Heyes (Treasured, Blood Wedding, Wall Talks).

Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles forms part of the official programme of Liverpool’s 50th Anniversary of The Beatles. It is a highlight of Liverpool’s established annual Homotopia international arts festival and the first major production at the newly refurbished Epstein Theatre (formerly The Neptune) named after Brian.

The two-hander multi-media play charts Brian Epstein’s adult life and illustrious career from his drama school days to managing the world’s biggest pop group. Brian’s short life was crammed with success and controversy; an intelligent man whose presence, taste, vision and passion left a lifelong impact on the world. Born in Liverpool in 1934 to Jewish descent, the cool, modern, urbane and gay Brian spent his early adult life working for the family business NEMS (North End Music Stores), between being drafted into the Royal Army Service Corps and moving to London to join RADA and live a more openly gay life. He returned to Liverpool to manage the new NEMS city centre music store making it one of the biggest in the North. Not long after was the historic lunchtime visit to the famous Cavern Club to hear four Liverpool lads perform and the rest was history. Brian died in 1967 of an accidental overdose at the age of 32.

Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles is sponsored by Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP Solicitors (Mathew Street and Penny Lane).
Writing co-commissioned by Homotopia. Supported by Liverpool Vision.
The production partners: The Cavern, The Beatles Story, Hard Days Night Hotel, Magical Mystery Tour, Fab Cabs Beatles Tours, Annexe Inc and Liverpool Echo.
The official charity of production is C.A.L.M.

More information on Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles can be found at www.epsteintheplay.com.


LISTING INFORMATION
Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles
The Epstein Theatre
Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DY
Thu 15 November – Sat 1 December 2012
Preview Performances: 15-17 November 2012
Thu and Sat Matinees: 2.30pm | Mon – Sat Evenings: 7.30pm
Ticket Prices: £10-£24 Concessions Available (all tickets £10 for preview performances)
How to Book:
Box Office: 0844 8000 410* or 0844 888 4411. Online at www.ticketquarter.co.uk* or www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at the TicketQuarter, Queens Square, Liverpool*
*Subject to booking fee.

No booking fees if tickets booked in person at Epstein Theatre or Ticket Quarter (this applies to cash payments only)

Friday, 21 September 2012

New Item Added to BBFC Shop - Replica Packs


This great replica pack is made up of memorabilia mostly from 1963 such as concert tickets, trading cards, a booklet on each Beatle, newspaper replicas and replicas of concert programmes, and captures Beatlemania as it spread through the UK.

Members - £5.00
Non-Members - £6.00
P&P - UK £1.50; EU £4.00; ROW £5.50

Thursday, 13 September 2012

ROLL UP ROLL UP FOR THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR!




THE BEATLES’ CLASSIC 1967 FEATURE FILM RESTORED FOR
DVD AND BLU-RAY RELEASE ON OCTOBER 9TH

Songs you’ll never forget, the film you’ve never seen, and a story that’s never been heard.  In 1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and the One World satellite broadcast of All You Need Is Love, The Beatles devised, wrote, and directed their third film, Magical Mystery Tour, a dreamlike story of a coach day trip to the seaside.  Apple Films has fully restored the long out-of-print, classic feature film for October 9th on DVD and Blu-ray with a remixed soundtrack (5.1 and stereo) and special features. 



Magical Mystery Tour will be available in DVD and Blu-ray packages, and in a special 10”x10” boxed deluxe edition.  The deluxe edition includes both the DVD and Blu-ray, as well as a 60-page book with background information, photographs and documentation from the production, and a faithful reproduction of the mono double 7” vinyl EP of the film’s six new Beatles songs, originally issued in the UK to complement the film’s 1967 release. 



The restoration of Magical Mystery Tour has been overseen by Paul Rutan Jr. of Eque Inc., the same company that handled the much acclaimed restoration of Yellow Submarine.  The soundtrack work was done at Abbey Road Studios by Giles Martin and Sam Okell.

All of the packages contain a host of special features, packed with unseen footage.  There are newly-filmed interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and other members of the film’s cast and crew, as well as a director’s audio commentary recorded by Paul.



In September 1967, The Beatles loaded a film crew onto a bus, along with friends, family and cast, and headed west on the A30 out of London to make their third film, this time conceived and directed by The Beatles themselves.

“Paul said, ‘Look, I’ve got this idea,’ and we said ‘Great!’ and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top – that’s where we started,” explains Ringo.  “It wasn’t the kind of thing where you could say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is the product of our imaginations and believe me, at this point they are quite vivid’,” says Paul.  The film follows a loose narrative and showcased six new songs:  “Magical Mystery Tour,” “The Fool On The Hill,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Flying,” “Blue Jay Way,” and “Your Mother Should Know.”



Magical Mystery Tour features a fabulous supporting cast of character actors and performers, including Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Derek Royle, and the inimitable Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

Although the 53-minute film was shot in glorious color, it premiered on UK television in black and white.  Broadcast by BBC1 at 8:35pm on Boxing Day, the film immediately attracted widespread controversy as middle England and the establishment media erupted with indignation.  “How dare they?” they cried, “They’re not film directors!  Who do they think they are?” they howled.  Where were the four loveable moptops of Help! and A Hard Day’s Night?  Those Beatles were out of control!



Partly as an upshot of this adverse reaction, the film never had a US broadcast and very limited distribution in the rest of the world.

Operating at the time as the world’s de facto “cultural mission control,” The Beatles were already influencing filmmakers, artists, and musicians, while also drawing inspiration from their contemporaries.

Apple Films and EMI have partnered with Omniverse Vision, the leading distributor of music events to cinemas worldwide, to bring exclusive showings of Magical Mystery Tour to the big screen for the first time.  Screenings will take place in selected cinemas from September 27th in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan, and other countries worldwide.  Once confirmed, full listings will be available at www.thebeatles.com.  In addition, The British Film Institute has announced a special screening of Magical Mystery Tour at BFI Southbank on October 2nd.  Tickets are now available from the BFI website.


THE CAST
John                                         John Lennon
Paul                                         Paul McCartney
George                                     George Harrison
Ringo                                       Ringo Starr
Mr. Bloodvessel                         Ivor Cutler
Ringo’s Aunt                             Jessie Robins
Army Sergeant                         Victor Spinetti
Jolly Jimmy                              Derek Royle
Rubber Man                              Nat Jackley
Band in Strip Club                     The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Made in England by The Beatles

Director of Photography                        Richard Starkey






MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR SPECIAL FEATURES

Director’s Commentary – by Paul McCartney

“The Making of Magical Mystery Tour” [19:05]
- Features interviews with Paul and Ringo, along with other cast members and crew.  Includes unseen footage.

“Ringo the Actor” [2:30]
- Ringo Starr reflecting on his role in the film.

“Meet the Supporting Cast” [11:27]
- A feature on the background and careers of Nat Jackley, Jessie Robins, Ivor Cutler, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Victor Spinetti, George Claydon, and Derek Royle.

“Your Mother Should Know” [2:35]
Blue Jay Way” [3:53]
“The Fool On The Hill” [3:05]
- Three new edits of these performances, all featuring footage not seen in the original film.

“Hello Goodbye,” as featured on “Top of the Pops” - 1967 [3:24]
- The Beatles allowed the BBC to film them in the edit suite where they were working on Magical Mystery Tour.  This was then turned into a promo by the BBC, who shot their own additional footage.  It was then broadcast on “Top of the Pops” to mark the “Hello Goodbye” single going to No. 1 in December 1967.

“Nat’s Dream” [2:50]
- A scene directed by John featuring Nat Jackley and not included in the original film.

Ivor Cutler – “I’m Going In A Field” [2:35]
- Ivor performs “I’m Going In A Field,” in a field.  This scene was not included in the original film.

Traffic – “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” [1:53]
- The filming of Traffic acting out their 1967 hit single “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” was commissioned by The Beatles for possible inclusion in Magical Mystery Tour, but was not included in the final edit.

TECHNICAL SPECS

Aspect ratio – 1.33:1
Frame rate – 1080i 59.94

Audio Options
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1
PCM stereo for Blu-ray
Dolby Digital for DVD

Subtitle language options for feature, extras, and commentary: 
English; Français; Deutsch; Español; Italiano; Português; Nederlande; Svenska; Norsk; Dansk; Suomi



31 LIVERPOOL CHOIRS CONFIRM ATTENDANCE FOR THE BEATLES WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT





With less than a month to go until the city of Liverpool attempts to smash a Beatles Guinness World Record, event organisers have confirmed that 816 members of Liverpool’s combined choirs have confirmed their attendance on the day – including the world famous Liverpool Signing Choir fresh from their show-stopping performance at The London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony.

Taking place on Friday October 5th at The Cruise Liner Terminal, The Pier Head, Liverpool organisers are confident they will smash the world record for singing ‘in a round’ which currently stands at 897.

Organisers have also revealed timings for the day’s record attempt:-

10.00am Arrival
10.30am – Rehearsal
11.30am - Break
12.00pm - Record attempt

Jennifer John from Sense of Sound - the award winning Liverpool company that specialises in vocal training and singing – has been appointed to mobilise the city’s flourishing choir community and has confirmed a massive groundswell of support.

Jennifer John says,
"I am delighted that myself and Sense of Sound have the role of Musical Director for the challenge of attempting to beat the current world record for the largest number of people singing ‘in a round’. What better way than to be able to celebrate 50 years since The Beatles debut single ‘Love Me Do’ was released than by singing that very song to smash the record. So far we have more than thirty choirs taking part from all over the country but we still need more to join us in this exciting challenge.”

Jerry Goldman, MD of the award-winning Beatles Story attraction says,
 “Liverpool has really risen to the challenge to ensure the 50th anniversary of ‘Love Me Do’ Guinness World Records attempt is something that will be heard around the world. And we also have confirmed attendance from fans as far away as Brazil, Argentina and Australia!
“As soon as Jennifer contacted her network of choirs across the city and the country the level of support was amazing. They all agreed that this was a moment to come together and once again make Liverpool the centre of The Beatles musical world.
“But we still need people to sign up and join in. Beatles fans, tourists from across the world, locals, even pop stars can join in to make sure we smash this record!”

The record-breaking attempt has been created by the award-winning Beatles Story attraction and Albert Dock and is supported by Liverpool City Council.

Any choirs wishing to join in can contact jennifer@senseofsound.net.


www.lovemedoweekend.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/366624750072808/

For more details about ‘Liverpool Celebrates 50 Years Of The Beatles’ can be found at: www.VisitLiverpool.com/50yearsofthebeatles

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

THEATRE THROWS OPEN ITS DOORS FOR BRIAN EPSTEIN’S BIRTHDAY




Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ (Formerly The Neptune)

FREE TEA OR COFFEE FOR EVERY VISITOR IN BRIAN’S BAR
DISCOUNTED SHOW TICKETS FOR BOOKINGS MADE AT THEATRE
_________________________________________________________________________________________

The brand new Epstein Theatre is to throw open its doors to the public for a very special open day on Wednesday 19th September, the birth date of the late Mr Brian Epstein. The theatre management are giving the people of the city the opportunity to come and have a look around the beautiful £1m restoration of the theatre formerly The Neptune and renamed after the Beatles manager this year.

The Epstein Theatre will be open from 10am until 7pm on Wednesday 19th September to allow the public to pop in throughout the day, lunch break or after work to see the foyers, bars and auditorium. Boards showing the history of the theatre and the restoration will also be on display.

They are also offering every visitor a free cup of tea or coffee in the brand new beautifully refurbished Brian’s Bar which opened to the public last week. Acoustic musicians will perform music from the Merseybeat era from the bands that Brian managed.

To coincide with the box office opening at the theatre, they are also offering all visitors a special discounted ticket for anybody who books in person at the theatre on Wednesday 19th September. A £5 discount* is available on bookings (*full price tickets only, may exclude some performances) for the forthcoming world premiere of Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles starring Andrew Lancel as Brian Epstein and the Christmas Pantomime Cinderella which stars Sonia, Philip Olivier, Nikki Grahame and Simon Greening.

Following the restoration, the theatre management now feel it is ready to show everybody what a beautiful theatre is it.

General Manager of the Epstein Theatre, Rebekah Pichilingi said “The Neptune Theatre held so many wonderful memories for both audiences and actors alike. Now re-launched as The Epstein Theatre we are thrilled to open our doors once more. We would like to welcome everybody down to have a look around this gem of a theatre on a very special day for us. This will be the first of our annual events for Brian’s birthday.”

There is also the chance to pick up a brand new ‘What’s On’ brochure for the Autumn/Winter season and enter a competition to win a pair of tickets for a show of your choice for each month of the Autumn/Winter season.

The theatre raised the curtain on its line-up for their first official opening season of shows just last week, a mixed programme of events from live music, plays, classical, comedy, panto, film and burlesque all form part of the opening season at the hidden gem in the heart of Liverpool City Centre.

For full details check out www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk and join our mailing list. Follow us on facebook and twitter.

Monday, 10 September 2012

ANDREW LANCEL TO PLAY BRIAN EPSTEIN IN LIVERPOOL WORLD PREMIERE


The producers of Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles are delighted to announce that acclaimed actor and TV star Andrew Lancel will play Brian Epstein in the long awaited world premiere play about the legendary music manager in this, the Beatles 50th Anniversary year.

Running from 15 November – 1 December 2012 at Liverpool’s newly reopened Epstein Theatre, Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles is brought to you by Bill Elms & Jen Heyes Productions Ltd (Tales from Haunted Liverpool, Tales From Charles Dickens), written by Andrew Sherlock (Wall Talks and The Shankly Show) and created and directed by Jen Heyes (Treasured, Blood Wedding, Wall Talks).

Lancashire-born Andrew Lancel most recently played the high profile part of Frank Foster in ITV’s Coronation Street and has also had notable roles in ITV’s The Bill (as DI Neil Manson), Channel 4’s Queer as Folk (Harvey Black) and BBC1’s Cardiac Arrest (Dr Andrew Collin).

Andrew Lancel said: “As a Beatles fan it’s a daunting but hugely exciting challenge to be playing Brian Epstein and I was very honoured to be asked. This is the first play I’ve accepted in 10 years which says a lot – it’s a powerful and moving piece but also an entertaining insight into one of our own and what makes him tick.”


Jen Heyes, co-creator and director of Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, said: “I am so pleased that Andrew Lancel has accepted the part of Brian Epstein. The casting process was a long and considered one as befits this iconic role and I can think of no one better to play Brian than Andrew - a professional Liverpool actor who has become a household name, with a fantastic and varied body of work under his belt. We had a responsibility to find the right actor for this role and I am extremely excited to have Andrew on board, I know he will do Brian justice and he even has a resemblance to him which is an added bonus.”

Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles forms part of the official programme of Liverpool’s 50th Anniversary of The Beatles. It is a highlight of Liverpool’s established annual Homotopia international arts festival and the first major production at the newly refurbished Epstein Theatre (formerly The Neptune) named after Brian. 

The two-hander multi-media  play charts Brian Epstein’s adult life and illustrious career from his drama school days to managing the world’s biggest pop group. Brian’s short life was crammed with success and controversy; an intelligent man whose presence, taste, vision and passion left a lifelong impact on the world. Born in Liverpool in 1934 to Jewish descent, the cool, modern, urbane and gay Brian spent his early adult life working for the family business NEMS (North End Music Stores), between being drafted into the Royal Army Service Corps and moving to London to join RADA and live a more openly gay life. He returned to Liverpool to manage the new NEMS city centre music store making it one of the biggest in the North. Not long after was the historic lunchtime visit to the famous Cavern Club to hear four Liverpool lads perform and the rest was history. Brian died in 1967 of an accidental overdose at the age of 32.



In addition to his TV career, Andrew Lancel has starred in many plays and musicals throughout Britain with great critical acclaim at the Almedia Theatre, London and Chichester Festival Theatre. Roles include Alan Strang in Equus, Motel Kamzoil in Fiddler on the Roof, Andrew in Certain Young Men (World Premiere) Worthy in The Recruiting Officer and Millington in Conduct Unbecoming. After playing Brian Epstein Andrew will star in the Sleeping Beauty panto at Liverpool Echo Arena this Christmas.

A second actor - who will play a fictional character entitled ‘This Boy’ and provide a musical element to the show - will be announced shortly.

Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles is sponsored by Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP Solicitors (Matthew Street and Penny Lane).

Writing co-commissioned by Homotopia. Supported by Liverpool Vision

The production partners: The Cavern, The Beatles Story, Hard Days Night Hotel, Magical Mystery Tour, Fab Cabs Beatles Tours, Annexe Inc and Liverpool Echo.

The official charity of production is C.A.L.M.
More information on Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles can be found at www.epsteintheplay.com

The Epstein Theatre 
Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DY 
Thu 15 November – Sat 1 December 2012 
Preview Performances: 15-17 November 2012 
Thu and Sat Matinees: 2.30pm | Mon – Sat Evenings: 7.30pm 
Ticket Prices: £10-£24 (Concessions Available) 

How to Book: 
Box Office: 0844 8000 410* or 0844 888 4411. Online at www.ticketquarter.co.uk* or www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or or in person at the TicketQuarter, Queens Square, Liverpool* 

*Subject to booking fee. 





Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Merseybeats at the Cavern 1962-2012

c. Donna Jackson
Review by Donna Jackson

Usually, this website is restricted to content that is strictly Beatles-related.  However, on occasion, something special happens that justifies a slight bending of the rules.  And last night, thanks to the Cavern Club, one such event occurred.

In the 1960s it wasn't just the Beatles who were rocking the Cavern, and dominating the charts.  One of the other successful bands to come from Liverpool was the Merseybeats and last night, in this 50th anniversary year of the Beatles, the Cavern fittingly acknowledged the place of the Merseybeats in musical history.


Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane
founding members of The Merseybeats
c. Donna Jackson

One of the many performances given by the Merseybeats at the Cavern took place on September 7 1962.  Fifty years to the day of that gig, founder members of the band, Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley, now accompanied by Bob Packham (bass), Lou Rosenthal (drums) and Adrian Crane (keyboards), returned to the Cavern and, in the first set, recreated that show from 1962. 


c. Cavern Photos
Although the Merseybeats performed in the Cavern Live Lounge, not on the iconic front stage, it didn't take much imagination to be transported back fifty years and share in the magic that made Liverpool, as Paul McCartney still frequently refers to his birthplace, the "centre of the creative universe."  From the moment that the first notes of "Some Other Guy" rang out, it was obvious that we were all in for a very special night.

c. Cavern Photos
Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane may be older  but the passion, excitement, energy, humour and musical talent is as strong as ever.

Billy Kinsley
c. Cavern Photos

Not only are the Merseybeats great musicians, but they're amazing people too.  Tony Crane is a founding trustee of Invisible Injuries, a charity that supports, among others, soldiers suffering from PTSD.  During the interval, an auction of some one-of-a-kind memorabilia, including Tony's own guitar, raised nearly £1000 for the charity.

Tony Crane
c. Donna Jackson
Then the Merseybeats returned for the second set.  The opening announcement brought us forward fifty years to September 7, 2012, and the band performed a selection of hits from their long career, including "I Think of You", "Wishin' and Hoping'", and "Sorrow" with each song greeted by cheers and applause from a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

The close friendship between the Merseybeats and the Beatles was mentioned by Billy Kinsley and the band included a Beatles song in their setlist last night; well, as Billy said, "you've got to, haven't you?!"


c. Cavern Photos

The Merseybeats closed the show by paying tribute to the athletes of the Paralympics with a special and emotional performance of "You'll Never Walk Alone" earning a well-deserved standing ovation from everyone in the Cavern Live Lounge.


c. Cavern Photos

When introducing "Wishin' and Hopin'", Tony and Billy paid tribute to Hal David who recently passed away, acknowledging him as one of the world's greatest lyricists.  It was a fitting tribute but a sad reminder that the legends who made the 1960s so special and so magical are gradually being lost, and a timely reminder that such special events, as occurred in the Cavern last night, must be cherished.

The Cavern Club had promised a "very special one-off show".  Given the history of the "most famous club in the world", the show had to be truly special for that promise to be fulfilled.  And indeed it was!

To witness two of the 'originals' from the Cavern still performing with such passion, energy and joy was a real privilege and a night that those of us who were lucky enough to be there will never forget.


c. Donna Jackson


Thanks for a really great night!!  Love you too!


The British Beatles Fan Club would like to thank Cavern Photos for kindly granting permission for the use of these images.  To see more great photos from The Merseybeats in the Cavern, and from other Cavern shows, visit the Cavern Photos facebook page by clicking here

NB: Please do not reproduce any of these images without the expression permission of the copyright holder

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Help the White Feather Foundation



TEXT LIFE TO 70500 FOR £5 DONATION
TEXT CARE TO 70303 FOR £3 DONATION
THE UK ONLY DONATION WILL COST £3 OR £5 RESPECTIVELY PLUS A TEXT MESSAGE AT STANDARD RATE. THE WHITE FEATHER FOUNDATION WILL RECEIVE A MINIMUM £2.93 FOR EACH £3 DONATION AND £4.88 FOR EACH £5 DONATION TEXT.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE THE BILL PAYER'S PERMISSION BEFORE MAKING A DONATION.

VISIT WWW.WHITEFEATHERFOUNDATION.COM
© 2012 Julian Lennon



UNSUNG HEROES HONOURED AT THE BEATLES FESTIVAL IN SCARBOROUGH




CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF BEATLES MUSIC AND SELFLESS PEOPLE WHO HELP PUT THE ‘GREAT’ IN GREAT BRITAIN

Celebrating 50 years of Beatle music -The Beatles Festival hits Scarborough Spa on Saturday and Sunday of 15th– 16th September 2012 – providing a weekend of Beatlemania at a ‘guaranteed-no-mud’ indoor festival.

Unsung Heroes will be given £27,000 worth of free tickets courtesy of the Beatles Festival organisers who explain -‘The Grand Hall at the Scarborough Spa has 450 seats on the balcony that we hadn’t intended to use and it occurred to me (as a full-time carer) that we could bring some joy into the lives of people who may not otherwise be able to attend. There are 4 shows x 450 seats = 1800 x £15 = £27,000 which will go to ex-military heroes & families some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice, carers and voluntary workers. Tickets will be distributed via the British Legion, Help for Heroes and local Carers Associations.

The Beatles Festival will be celebrating 50 Years of Beatles Music 1962 -2012 providing a great nostalgic opportunity for those who lived through that glorious musical period and for younger audiences to discover the influencers of Oasis, Blur & Robbie Williams and many current pop stars.

The programme is divided into 4 sessions – afternoon & evening Saturday and Sunday which can be booked individually or as weekender tickets. Saturdays acts are Paul McCartney tribute - Macca Band, the Beatelles (All-Girl tribute), the Merzees, Image of Lennon, BJ Lewis, Johnny & The Moondogs (afternoon only). Video DJ Ray will be sharing rare Beatles film footage between acts.

There will also be stalls and memorabilia, including on Sunday a world exclusive of hand-painted Beatles ceramic tiles. Also you can meet pop-music photographer Stuart Homer, who will take your photo and superimpose it onto a Beatles Album Cover so you have The Beatles Festival event souvenir or have a photo taken with a Beatle lookalike - all donations going to Kidney Research Charity.


The Sunday programme acts include Mersey Beatles (10 years resident at the Cavern Club), the Cavernites, Neil Tudor (Macca), the Beatle 5, Hey Beatles and BJ Lewis.
The Mersey Beatles

Commented organiser Steve Foley ‘We hope to make this an annual event together with several other festivals planned for Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion in 2013. We plan to include our UNSUNG HEROES programme in each event & would encourage local businesses to use any spare capacity to do similar ‘feel good’ gestures. If businesses cannot find a way to support Unsung Heroes then they can join our efforts to ‘add fun’ for deserving people.’

Tickets can be booked online at www.scarboroughspa.co.uk or check out the full programme and book at www.TheBeatlesFestival.co.uk or phone the Spa box office on 01723 357869. For stall and exhibition space enquiries phone 07775 613116.

SPECIAL OFFER: Some discounted tickets still available for BBFC Members by clicking HERE 

Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre Announce Opening Season





Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ 
(Formerly The Neptune) 

· Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre Announce Opening Season. 

· New Theatre Bar Opens Named After Brian Epstein. 

· The 11 O’Clock Private Members Club For Creative Industries Is Launched. 

_________________________________________________________________

The brand new Epstein Theatre has unveiled its line-up for their first official opening season of shows, the news comes following its £1m restoration of the old Neptune Theatre and renamed after one of Liverpool’s most-loved sons and Beatles Manager Brian Epstein.

A mixed programme of events from live music, plays, classical, comedy, panto, film and burlesque all form part of the opening season at the hidden gem in the heart of Liverpool City Centre.

Liverpool institutions such as Laughterhouse Comedy and The Martini Lounge have found new homes at the venue and great theatrical performances such as the hotly anticipated world premiere of EPSTEIN – The Man Who Made The Beatles, recently listed in the top 5 must-see plays for autumn in The Times newspaper. A Christmas pantomime also returns to the theatre with LHK Productions star-studded production of Cinderella with an all star cast, Panto has historically been a popular event in the theatre as the old Neptune.

Another exciting announcement is the refurbishment of the theatre bar into Brian’s Bar after namesake himself, acclaimed designer Richard Eastwood has created a stunning space to relax throughout the day over a drink, pastry or savoury snack, overlooking the hustle and bustle of Hanover Street. Brian’s Bar will be open from 2pm – 11pm every day and will also have its own programme of events with exhibitions, live music and poetry evenings all in the planning. Brian’s Bar opens from Friday 7th September at 2pm.

There will also an exclusive member’s only club The 11 O’Clock Club, where the city’s creative Industries can come together from 11pm until 3am creating a constant hive of activity at the Hanover Street venue.

CEO of Liverpool Sound City and The Epstein Theatre Dave Pichilingi said “Epstein is now fully open for business and we are delighted to be unveiling our Autumn and Winter programme. We have also fully refurbished the bar area of Epstein Theatre which is now officially known as Brian's Bar. Our aim is that Brian's Bar becomes the destination of choice for all the creative and artistic community from the region. It features its own stage and performance area where artists can test out their new art and ideas in front of a receptive audience. Also part of the Epstein offer is the late night '11 o Clock Club'. This is Liverpool's first members club for the creative and music community from the city.”

September highlights include a brand new play by Coronation Street’s Pauline Fleming called Dirty Dating.com, Guitar Masters Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Preston Reed stop off on their UK tour. Liverpool Comedy Festival will take over the Epstein for four nights of Laughterhouse Comedy stand-up with Chris Stokes, Piff The Magic Dragon, Nige, Richard Herring and Steve Shanyaski. Everton fans can also enjoy An Evening With Neville Southall.

October Highlights include the finest front women in Irish music today Dervish are set to perform live as part of Liverpool Irish Festival. With Cathy Jordan’s ever distinctive voice combined with finesse and subtlety this the true way to experience Ireland’s most enduring bands. The Martini Lounge is returning to their new home in what is set to be another night of sizzling burlesque performances. With glamorous costumes, variety, comedy and vocal acts are part of the program all carefully crafted by Liverpool’s own Millie Dollar, it’s one of the must-see burlesque events in the UK. Halloween brings an event with a difference with the Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10 performing Frankenstein!! Conducted by Clark Rundell.

November will be a very special month for the Fab Four, Beatlemania will be sweeping throughout the Epstein with two very special shows dedicated to legacy of Liverpool’s favourite sons. Racking up over 350 performances at the Cavern Club alone and have headlined festivals and events the world over, Liverpool’s favorite Beatles tribute band will be coming home. The Mersey Beatles will play 2 x 1hour sets of all era Beatles classics in full costume.

The highlight of the Epstein Theatre opening season is the world premiere of EPSTEIN – The Man Who Made The Beatles. A brand new play about one of Liverpool’s most-loved sons and one of the world’s most successful music entrepreneurs is to premiere in Liverpool, in the year that celebrates 50 years since The Beatles came together. This multi-media play with live music is created by Jen Heyes and Andrew Sherlock and runs from 15 November to 1 December 2012. Already gathering interest the world over from Beatles fans and the media, this event will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy at the venue. Full cast announcement is coming soon.

December can only mean one thing, the countdown to Christmas has begun and a very special production comes to town as the traditional pantomime returns to the boards of the Epstein in the form of Cinderella, the greatest fairytale of them all. LHK Productions take the helm to bring back traditional Pantomime to the old Neptune stage after a seven year absence (a venue with a tradition of Christmas Pantomimes). With a start studded cast including Songstress Sonia, resident Liverpool pin-up Philip Olivier, Reality TV star Nikki Grahame, Radio City’s very own Simon Greening and local girl Alison Crawford who was a finalist on BBC’s Grease is the Word. This ends a launch season to remember at The Epstein Theatre.

Tickets for all events can now be purchased in person from Brian’s Bar; pop in and pick up a new season brochure. 


HOW TO BOOK 

Box Office: 0844 888 4411* online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at Brian’s Bar at The Epstein Theatre from 2pm – 11pm every day. 
*Subject to booking fee. 

For full details check out www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk and join our mailing list. Follow is on facebook and twitter.