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Beatles Backbeat Shutters Early in West End, 18 Feb

The West End production of Backbeat - Iain Softley's stage adaptation of his award-winning 1994 British film about the early years of the Beatles - will end its West End run at the Duke of York's Theatre on 18 February 2012. The show had been booking until 24 March 2012.

The stage play, which opened at the Duke of York's Theatre on 10 October (previews from 24 September 2011) and is directed in the West End by David Leveaux, received its world premiere at Glasgow Citizens Theatre in February 2010. A number of the original Glasgow cast join the play for its West End run.

Producer David Mirvish will now transfer the production to Toronto, Canada during summer 2012.

In a press statement the show's producer Karl Sydow said: "I am enormously proud to have brought Backbeat to London and look forward to working with David Mirvish to take this great production to Canada next year."

Andrew Knott, Daniel Healy, William Payne and Oliver Bennett portray the Fab Four in the show alongside Nick Blood as the Beatles’ original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and Ruta Gedmintas who plays photographer Astrid Kirchherr.

Backbeat includes live onstage performances of various songs the Beatles 'cut their teeth with', including "Twist & Shout", "Rock & Roll Music", "Long Tall Sally", "Please Mr Postman" and "Money".

Set during ‘the Hamburg Years’ in the early 1960s before the band became successful and world famous, Backbeat centres on the triangular relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe, the band’s original bassist and an accomplished painter, his best friend John Lennon, and Astrid Kirchherr, the beatnik German photographer who Sutcliffe fell in love with. Struggling with his various loyalties, Sutcliffe eventually chose Astrid and art over the Beatles and music.

Backbeat is co-written by Stephen Jeffreys, with musical direction by Paul Stacey, lighting by Howard Harrison and David Holmes, projection by Timothy Bird and Nina Dunn for Knifedge, movement by Nikki Woollaston, fights by Renny Krupinski and music supervised by Paul Stacey. It’s produced by Karl Sydow.

Backbeat will be followed into the Duke of York's by Zach Braff's Off-Broadway comedy All New People. The play, it was announced yesterday, will come to the West End on 22 February following dates at Manchester Opera House and the King's Theatre, Glasgow. Braff, star of Scrubs, Garden State and The Last Kiss, will make his West End debut in the play's 10-week run.


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