Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Rain(s) are predicted

Charlene Baldridge
Photo by Ken Howard

A Short Deluge 
with a Longer One to Follow

Wednesday, March 30, was the official opening of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, a touring show presented by Broadway San Diego at the Balboa Theatre only through Sunday, Apr.3 at 6 pm.

It was great fun to be among dyed in the wool fans of all ages, especially to see those who were teens in the era comport themselves in youthful manner during the concert and to realize, geez, these are my kids. And in these midlife bodies, they are young again.

They had a great time, and so did I, even though it took me back to my parental worries over what effects, (to us, then) radical views, long hair and such rhythmically propulsive music would have on them. (They turned out all right.)

The idea of the show, which played here earlier in a less-developed concept, is to present the music, which is done, really, in concert form with minimal story-telling with four terrific artists from the original Broadway company – Steve Landes, Joey Curatolo, Joe Bithorn and Ralph Castelli. They represent the fab four without attempting to impersonate. They are upheld by a backup guy, Mark Beyer, who plays keyboard and in effect provides the synth sounds of horns, strings and angels, allowing the entire event to be played live.

And played live it is, to the max in excellence with all the volume, smoke, lights in your eyes, and visual effects imaginable, and though the smoke does pour profusely and  frequently, cascading off the edge of the stage, it also dissipates without affecting onlookers’ eyes and noses.

It’s eerie to hear the twang and the percussion while experiencing the fab four before one’s eyes, visually backed by the real Beatles' authentic appearances in period footage. Their anti-war political stance struck me anew. That thought is ever more profound amid the saber-rattling run up to our presidential election, especially as the two hour concert (plus a 20 minute interval) ended with “Give Peace a Chance,” “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.”

Just a few others from the evening’s humongous songbook included “She Loves You,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Sgt, Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club.” In addition, the audience selected one song by request, “We Can Work It Out.” This selection, of course, varies nightly.

The Fabulous Four
Photo by  Richard Lovrich

Even though I thought I did not know, I wrote down the Beatles’ names, and they turned out to be, left to right, what I saw on stage, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon. For some reason, the show management seems loathe to make precise designations, so neither will I.

Warnings logistical: to avoid paying for parking (Horton Plaza Garage gives $10 off with validation in lobby of the Balboa) I usually go down early and snag free parking on Broadway Circle, which is an even longer hike than a month ago, due to new more meandering cut-through to 4th.

Another caution: regarding your handbag. I put my handbag and cane under my seat in row B and someone, or numerous individuals to the rear spilled their beer, which rolled down and over my handbag and all its contents. Nothing like taking stale beer home in your car.

Rain of the Beatles variety falls until Sunday evening at 6pm Check the schedule at

The Other Rain

The other Rain is that of the Old Globe Theatre. Based upon a Somerset Maugham short story, it opens to critics Friday, April 1. My review will appear in Uptown News.