David Leveaux's production of Backbeat, the story of The Beatles, premieres at London's Duke of York Theatre. Adapted from Iain Softley's 1994 film, the new musical has been co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys, with musical direction by Paul Stacey and features early Beatles tracks including Twist and Shout, Please Mr Postman, Money, Rock 'n' Roll Music and Long Tall Sally.
Set in the back streets of Hamburg in the early 1960s, Backbeat charts the early years of The Beatles as they played the clubs of the seedy Reeperbahn seeking success and focuses on the compelling story of Stuart Sutcliffe, a keen artist and the group's original bassist.
The musical explores Stuart's relationships with his best friend John Lennon and the German beatnik photographer Astrid Kirchherr whom he fell in love with. As the Liverpool group hone their sound from rough-and-ready skiffle to world-dominating rock'n'roll, Sutcliffe finds himself struggling with his loyalties - torn between the band, his growing feelings for Astrid and his love of painting. Sutcliffe eventually left The Beatles, trading stardom for art school and handing over his guitar to Paul McCartney. He died of a brain haemorrhage in 1962 aged just 21 years old, in the same year that the Beatles appointed Brian Epstein as manager, signed to Parlophone Records and released their first single Love Me Do.
Duke of York's Theatre
St Martin's Lane
Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
Nearest Rail: Charing Cross
Bus Routes: 14, 19, 22, 24, 29, 38, 40, 176
Parking: MasterPark at Trafalgar Square, NCP at St Martinís Lane and 3 parking meters within 50m of the main entrance.
There are 2 spaces for wheelchair users in the Royal Circle and transfer seating is also available. A maximum of 2 wheelchair transferees and 1 scooter is permitted per performance.
A dual channel infra-red system with 12 headsets is available for the hearing impaired. Headsets should be collected from the cloakroom.
Guide dogs are allowed inside the auditorium, or staff can dog-sit if preferred. A maximum of 4 guide dogs is permitted per peformance.
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