By KATIE SHAW
North Kitsap Herald
Oh, darling, believe me when I tell you, the Fab Four will come together for one night only at the Admiral Theatre and they’ll be getting a little help from some local friends.
The Admiral Theatre hosts “In My Life — A Musical Theater Tribute to the Beatles” on June 3, 7:30-10 p.m. More than a concert, the show features scenes from the Beatles’ lives as seen through the eyes of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. It is interspersed with some of the four’s greatest hits and accompanied by the Bremerton High School string quartet.
The award-winning show, written by Andy Nagle and Tom Maher, received Southern California’s Roar of the Crowd award twice in its first five weeks of touring in 2008, meaning that it was the highest-rated show in those two weeks.
“Even if you’re not a Beatles fan, it’s a good show,” Nagle said.
The show hires a local string quartet for each location they play. Nagle tries to find out which musical program in the area is the strongest. If they are concerned about musicality or capability of the group, they add rehearsal time with the band or change the set list.
The quartet plays with the band for five songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” which uses only voices and strings.
Bremerton High School senior Que’Neshia Cox, junior Lydia Buck and sophomores Erika Niemoller and Everett Kinyon comprise the string quartet that will accompany the band at the Admiral.
“I can tell these kids are strong players,” Nagle said.
Nagle emailed Max Karler, director of instrumental music at Bremerton High School, who thought that it seemed like a really great opportunity.
“I selected the students based on which ones could perform the music without needing to spend hours practicing,” Karler said.
Karler sat down and read through the music with them, but then the students worked independently on the music and mastered it in little time, Karler said. The quartet will rehearse with the band at 4 p.m. the day of the performance, and will have dinner with the cast and crew before the show.
The orchestra also receives a stipend, usually between $100 and $500, depending on how well the show does.
“It’s a great experience for the students to interact with the musicians,” Nagle said.
The show’s cast plays 33 songs while acting out important scenes from Beatles history with banter and personality between sets. For example, the show recreates a scene with Paul McCartney as he writes and plays the song “Yesterday” for the first time. The McCartney character explains that he envisioned a string quartet accompaniment, and the Bremerton High School students play along.
“For Beatles fans it’s a cool moment, because that’s the way the song was recorded,” Nagle said.
“In My Life” begins its story in Liverpool’s Cavern Club in 1961, where the Beatles were discovered by Epstein.
“They were unprofessional, but Epstein saw the amazing appeal and their connection to the audience,” Nagle said
Epstein, portrayed by Alxander Jon, narrates the events throughout the show, though he also interacts with the other characters. Originally, his role was used as a filler during the eight costume changes.
“It’s a neat way to put the scenes in perspective,” Nagle said.
The musical then takes the audience through significant events in the Beatles’ timeline, such as performing on the Ed Sullivan Show and recording “Abbey Road” before concluding with a recreation of the Beatles’ final live performance on the Apple Corps building rooftop in 1969.
The show is difficult to cast, especially considering the Paul McCartney character, Nagle said.
“Paul McCartney has a four-octave range,” Nagle said. “We have to find someone with four octaves, plays guitar, has the right body frame, is willing to learn left-hand guitar, and act.”
Critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Chris Paul Overall plays Paul McCartney in the current cast. Ringo Starr is played by Axel Clarke, George Harrison by Jesse Wilder and John Lennon by Nate Bott. The show has been re-casted twice, as the first cast didn’t completely match the show, and members of the second decided to pursue their own musical careers, Nagel said.
Tickets, which cost between $25 and $55, can be purchased online at www.admiraltheatre.org or over the phone by calling 360-373-6743.