It's hard NOT to love the Beatles. "Hey Jude," "Paperback Writer," "Blackbird" (Blackbird is actually my favorite Beatles tune), "Julia," (written for John's mother (and my daughter)). How can anyone not LOVE these songs, or at least agree that the music is extraordinary—crossing generations, cultures and moods? You can listen to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" or "Here Comes the Sun" with a car full of friends while driving to the beach; you might put on "Yesterday" or the "Long and Winding Road" in more contemplative times: Certainly many a bride has danced with her new husband to "In My Life," or "I Will."
As Mark Lewis, creator of the hit musical and national touring production of "Rain—A Tribute to the Beatles," aptly notes, "the music touches emotional buttons."
"But where do you get to hear it live?" That was Lewis's question 30-some years ago when he conceived the notion of transforming his L.A. Beatles cover band, Reign, into today's award-winning show.
"The Beatles were never a touring band. They stopped touring in their 20s and were focused on recording music in the studio," said Lewis, when we spoke earlier this week. "We've done this out of love for the music and to give fans an outlet to experience it live, just as the Beatles would have performed it."
Today the show drives thousands each night to Broadway and to venues on its tour. Lewis says this was not always the case.
"We did it through the disco era, when people would come up and ask if we could play anything besides The Beatles, 'something you can dance to?'"
Lewis won't tell me his favorite Beatles song, nor does he own any Beatles memorabilia. And his answer to my question as to whether the Beatles would play Wolf Trap if they were touring today?
"They probably would. There's a good chance, I think," says Lewis. "While they would want the big stadiums and arenas, there comes a point when you want to be closer to the audience," he adds, recalling vivid memories of a McCartney show he saw at Hard Rock in NYC. "They just might."