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Beatles musical receives London premiere

Published 1 August 2011

The stage adaptation of Beatles biopic Backbeat is to receive its West End debut this autumn, playing at the Duke of York’s theatre from September.

The musical, based on the 1994 film, follows the rise of the world’s most famous band as they embark from the Liverpool docks to play gig after gig of rock ‘n’ roll cover versions in the less salubrious areas of Hamburg.

Focusing on the triangular relationship between original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, the German photographer Astrid Kirchherr with whom he fell in love, and his best friend John Lennon, Backbeat features classic rock ‘n’ roll tracks including Twist And Shout, Long Tall Sally and Please Mr Postman.

Speaking about the West End production, producer Karl Sydow said: “Backbeat at the Duke of York’s theatre will allow people the experience of being at the birth of the Beatles. It tells a story that many music fans may not know, set to a musical backdrop that absolutely defined the early 60s. Next year will mark 50 years since the Beatles released their first single, and I am proud to be bringing their early days to life in the West End.”

Iain Softley, who wrote the celluloid version of Backbeat, teamed up with Stephen Jeffreys to bring the theatrical adaptation to the stage of the Glasgow Citizens theatre in 2010. The West End production will be directed by David Leveaux, whose directorial credits include Jumpers, Fiddler On The Roof, Nine, Betrayal and The Real Thing.

The Duke of York’s theatre is currently home to World War I-set drama Journey’s End, which runs until 3 September.

MA

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