First seen at Glasgow’s Citizen’s Theatre in 2010, it is co-written by Iain Softley (who directed and co-wrote the film) and playwright Stephen Jeffreys, and is directed by David Leveaux (Broadway revivals of Nine and Fiddler on the Roof, and most recently represented on Broadway by his production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia that originated in the West End).
In a press statement, producer Karl Sydow commented, "Backbeat at the Duke Of York 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."
The show tells the story of "how The Beatles ‘became’ The Beatles – when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe (the fifth Beatle) embarked on their journey from the famous docks of Liverpool to search for success in the seedy red light district of Hamburg. All time rock ‘n’ roll classics that the Beatles cut their teeth with – ‘Twist & Shout’, ‘Rock & Roll Music’, ‘Long Tall Sally’ ‘Please Mr. Postman’ and ‘Money’ - are all performed live on stage in Backbeat."
Charting the triangular relationship between the band’s original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, the striking German photographer Astrid Kirchherr with whom he fell in love, and his best friend John Lennon, the show focuses on Stuart’s struggle between his best friend and the band, Astrid and his art. He died, aged only 22, in the same year that the Beatles appointed Brian Epstein as manager, signed to Parlophone Records by Sir George Martin, and released their first single "Love Me Do."
The cast features Nick Blood as Stuart Sutcliffe, Andrew Knott as John Lennon, Ruta Gedmintas as Astrid Kirchherr, Daniel Healy as Paul McCartney, William Payne as George Harrison and Oliver Bennett as Pete Best. Also in the cast are Adam Sopp as Tony Sheridan/Ringo Starr, Dominic Rouse as Klaus Voorman, Ben Fox as Arthur Ballard and Bert Kaempfer and James Wallace as Sir George Martin. To book tickets, which are on sale through March 24, 2012, contact the box office on 0844 871 7623, or visit www.backbeatlondon.com.