The Wang makes it Rain with a show of Beatles covers

by Beacon Staff • February 24, 2011

John, Paul, George, and Ringo will be rocking the Wang Theatre this weekend. Well, sort of.

Wearing wigs and appropriate Beatle garb, Steve Landes as John, Joe Bithorn as George, Joey Curatolo as Paul, and Ralph Castelli as Ringo make up Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles.

The tribute band, Rain, will be gracing the stage to perform its rendition of the Beatles’ classics. Although there will never be an actual reunion of the Liverpool quartet, seeing Rain is the next best thing.

The group’s website explains that Rain, originally named “Reign,” began as a southern California bar band in the 1970s and was transformed by Mark Lewis, founder and manager. Lewis converted the band into a full-out Beatle bonanza. Rain tours the country as a tribute show on Broadway. Their big claim to fame came when they were hired to do the music for the 1979 movie Birth of the Beatles, produced by Dick Clark.

The show covers music from the Beatles’ debut on the Ed Sullivan show up until their break-up in 1970. They cover over 30 hits such as “Let It Be,” “Come Together,” and “Hey Jude.”

This show aims not only to rekindle your love of the Beatles, but to evoke your inner hippie with a time-traveling multimedia extravaganza. Video montages displayed behind the faux Fab Four recreate historical snapshots such as TV commercials of the time to the Civil Rights Movement, according to Frank Scheck’s review in the Hollywood Reporter.

“I liken it to the authors of Beatles books,” Landes said in an interview with CBS. “They write out their books to tell the story of the Beatles to try and explain to the world what it was like at those times.  And we do the same thing, only on stage and using their music.”

Videos of past performances posted on Rain’s website demonstrate the group’s passion for the Beatles’ artistry. Although there are many aspects to the show, it really is about the music. They do not use any pre-recorded tapes; every note is performed live.

All of the band members have had a passion for playing music their entire lives, according to their website. Both Landes and Curatolo taught themselves how to play guitar when they were 10 years old. Bithorn was already belting out harmonies at age three and could play guitar by ear at age 14. Castelli started drumming at age six, and Lewis has been an accomplished pianist since age five.

In addition to being technically skilled, they are known to be enthusiastic performers — according to a review by Dan Bacalzo for Theatremania.com, Rain invites the audience to belt out the lyrics along with them.

“We feel like the audience almost has a religious experience if we do it right,” said Lewis in the interview with CBS. “[It’s] because they love the music and we love the music.”

The Wang Theatre will host Rain on Friday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.