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Let It Be arrives in West End with recreation Beatles rooftop gig

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Forthcoming Beatles jukebox musical Let It Be announced its arrival in the West End today (23 August) with a rooftop gig on the Trafalgar hotel.

The performance, which comes just over a month before the show opens on 24 September 2012 (previews from 14 September), featured hits including "Twist and Shout", "Hard Day's Night" and title track "Let It Be". The stunt echoes a set played by The Beatles in London in 1969 atop the Apple building.

Emanuelle Angeletti, Reuven Gershon, Stephen Hill and Gordon Elsmore as The Beatles.

The show will also run through the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do", which was released on 5 October 1962. It will play in the Prince of Wales Theatre, soon to be vacated by Mamma Mia!, where The Beatles played a legendary Royal Variety Performance set in 1963.

The cast of Let It Be will consist of ten performers who will share roles across the performances. The four rooftop performers today were Emanuele Angeletti, Reuven Gershon, Stephen Hill and Gordon Elsmore.

They will be joined in the full performances by Ian B Garcia, James Fox, Michael Gagliano, John Brosnan and Phil Martin, and will be joined for some songs by keyboard players Ryan Farmery and Michael Bramwell.

Let It Be is the first UK musical granted the rights to use The Beatles' back catalogue, although Broadway musical Rain, from the same production company as Let It Be, has been running in the US since the '80s.

Speaking to Whatsonstage.com at today's launch, producer Jamie Hendry said: "I'm a huge Beatles fan and have been trying to do a show in London for many years but couldn't get the rights. I teamed up with some producers on the other side of the pond who'd done a show called Rain and convinved Sony to give them the rights for that, so we then persuaded them to give us the rights for the West End as well."

He said that the show is "not a history lesson", but it does contain recreation of key moments in the story of The Beatles, including the iconic Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales theatre. "It's all about the music - trying to fit that around a story would've been wrong," he added, "attempting to shoe-horn the songs around a work of fiction wasn't right for us."

Several of the cast members have previously performed in Beatles tributes bands. Stephen Hill, who plays George, said: "Everybody who got the job knows each other, and when we got to London we looked at each other and said 'what are you doing here?'

"It's a huge responsibility bringing it to the West End. I don't think I'd want to know if Paul or Ringo was in the audience, it would be far too much pressure. There's The Bible, and there's The Beatles. It's got to be done right," he added.

- Kieran Corcoran & Theo Bosanquet


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