David Mirvish will present the North American premiere of the gritty, powerful rock 'n' roll drama BACKBEAT: The Birth of the Beatles, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre Theatre for a strictly limited engagement July 21 until September 2, 2012.
BACKBEAT tells the real-life story of five teenage lads from Liverpool who dream of becoming a successful rock band. When John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe get a gig in Hamburg, they believe the road to stardom is theirs. But the reality they face when they arrive in the grimy German port city -- where they are told they have to play eight hours a night for seven days a week for months on end in a grungy underground club in the red-light district -- makes them reevaluate their ambitions and hone their craft.
Hamburg also provides the group with their first fans, one of whom -- a photography student named Astrid -- catches the eye of Stuart. What ensues is a love triangle between Stuart, Astrid and John, the results of which would have ramifications for each of the three principals and for the history of what would become the greatest band in history.
BACKBEAT presents this little-known back story as an intense and compelling drama, punctuated with all-time rock ‘n’ roll classics that the Beatles cut their teeth with – ‘Twist & Shout’, ‘Rock & Roll Music’, ‘Long Tall Sally’ ‘Please Mr Postman’ and ‘Money,' among many others. As well, the play shows us Paul and John collaborating on some of their early songs, providing insight as to how their private lives inspired their compositions.
Co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys (and based on the 1994 film by Iain Softley), BACKBEAT is directed by the internationally acclaimed David Leveaux, and stars the original multi-talented London cast, who not only portray these iconic characters but also perform all their music live on stage.
The cast includes:
Nick Blood – Stuart Sutcliffe
Nick Blood, a British actor whose TV appearances include Trollied, Material Girl, The Bill and who has appeared at The National Theatre in Women Beware Women will play the part of Stuart Sutcliffe, the Beatles’ original bassist whose relationships with best friend John Lennon, and the German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, forms the central plot to the Backbeat story.
Andrew Knott – John Lennon
The Manchester born Andrew Knott will take on the part of John Lennon. Andrew was in the original National Theatre production and film of The History Boys, and has appeared in a number of high profile TV shows including Spooks, Gavin & Stacey, Life on Mars and Coronation Street. He also appeared in last year’s Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Andrew played John Lennon in the Glasgow production of Backbeat.
Isabella Calthorpe – Astrid Kirchherr
Trained at the L.A.M.D.A. Theatre: Dirty Dancing, (Aldwych Theatre); The Voysey Inheritance (National Theatre); The Importance of Being Earnest (York Theatre Royal). Television: The Prisoner, Trinity, Harley Street and Inspector Linley. Fil: How to Lose Friends and Alientate People, Fever, 13 Hours and Stage Beauty.
DANIEL HEALEY - Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney will be played by the Glasgow born singer songwriter Daniel Healy, whose acting credits include Daddy's Girl, Taggart, Chewin’ the Fat, The Karen Dunbar Show and the Irvine Welsh film Wedding Belles. Daniel played Paul McCartney in the West End and Glasgow productions of Backbeat. Trained at ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts). Theatre: Backbeat (Duke of York’s); Lennon (Royal Court, Liverpool); Backbeat (Glasgow). Film: A Shot At Glory (Cup UK). Television: River City (BBC); Daddy’s Girl (BBC); Taggart (Scottish Television); Wedding Belles (Channel 4); The Karen Dunbar Show (Comedy Unit); Chewing The Fat (Comedy Unit). Daniel is also an accomplished singer-songwriter. He recently supported UK chart-toppers, “Lawson” on their UK tour.