Playbill Playlist: Constantine Maroulis, Mary Testa and Rachel Bay Jones Rock Out to Beatles Favorites

Playlist   Playbill Playlist: Constantine Maroulis, Mary Testa and Rachel Bay Jones Rock Out to Beatles Favorites
 
54 Sings The Beatles will be held April 21 at 54 Below. In anticipation of the concert, members of the cast pick their favorite Beatles songs as part of this week's Playbill Playlist.
Constantine Maroulis
Constantine Maroulis Photo by Joan Marcus

Produced and directed by Scott Coulter with music direction by Michael Holland, concerts will be offered at 7 PM and 9:30 PM.

Performers include Tony Award nominees Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages) and Mary Testa (42nd Street, On the Town), Jessica Hendy (Aida), Noah J. Ricketts (Beautiful), Michael Campayno (The Sound of Music Live!), Marissa Mulder, Rachel Bay Jones (Pippin), Karen Mack, Phyllis Pastore, Scott Coulter, David Perlman, Lauren Fox and Amanda Savan.

The band also features Matt Scharfglass on bass and Danny Mallon on drums.

According to 54 Below, "In February of 1964, The Beatles landed in America. Their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th was watched by a reported 73 million people, and huge crowds gathered at Broadway and 54th to spot John, Paul, Ringo, and George. Now, 54 Below invites you to come back to the block that started it all, as 54 Sings the Beatles! Scott Coulter produces and directs a cast of Broadway and cabaret stars in thrilling covers of the songs that stirred a generation including 'Hey, Jude,' 'Let It Be,' 'She Loves You,' 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' 'With a Little Help from My Friends,' and more. Be sure to get a 'Ticket to Ride' and share in this musical journey down 'The Long and Winding Road' of The Beatles!"

For more information and tickets, visit 54Below.com.

Constantine Maroulis: "A Day in the Life." I imagine it's like asking a mother who her favorite child is… Really, there are no Beatles songs that don't have a great impact when I hear them. "A Day in the Life," an amazing piece that features distinct sections written separately by John and Paul, has always been a favorite of mine for its combination of simplicity and complexity. The different "movements," if you will, and the power moments vocally… The psychedelic meets the Pop Opera in a way with this classic. "I'd love to turn you on." Great line.

Mary Testa: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." I like a lot of songs, but "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" is a fav. I know it is about LSD, but they could have called it anything: "Let's Slow Down." "Looks Sh*tty Dere." "Lotta Stuff Doin'." But they settled on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Gotta love it.

Rachel Bay Jones: "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" from "Abbey Road." This whole climactic arc takes my breath away: sweet melodies with surprisingly raw, emotional vocals and deep drive… "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make…" Gorgeous.

Michael Campayno: "Drive My Car." It's funny, I've only recently delved into the Beatles… only because I find enjoyment and challenge in finding unknown artists. Don't get me wrong, I do indeed live on this planet, but it wasn't until my roommate Brian insisted I listen to a great variety of their music that I became aware of their uniqueness, charm and undeniable importance. This was the first Beatles song we listened to and quickly one of my favorites!

Jessica Hendy: "Hey, Jude." My pick is "Hey, Jude." I have always loved this song. To me, it's about overcoming a hard time or situation that is happening in your life, and making it better…better to the point where it just becomes a huge rock sing along where everyone around you is singing your chorus. You can't help but feel better, singing or listening to this song! It just makes you want to go for it!

Amanda Savan: "Eleanor Rigby." I have a handful of favorite Beatles songs, but "Eleanor Rigby" has a special place in my heart. It was the first Beatles song I can remember listening to as a kid. The strings were so beautiful and striking to me. You can't beat strings in a pop song! …Unless you are Aretha Franklin, and you replace the strings with horns…and backup singers.

David Perlman: "Oh! Darling." I cannot pin down my one favorite Beatles song, but the first one that came to mind is "Oh! Darling." It is so soulful and raw, and honestly I wish I had the type of voice to be able to pull it off. I love this version that Kelly Clarkson did because I think it's one of those songs where you can totally justify just screaming. Also, I love a good false start.

Phyllis Pastore: "In My Life." In 1964, four teenage girls from Pueblo, CO, were fully entrenched in the "British Invasion" and die-hard Beatles fans. Each had their favorite: Lu was Paul, Terri was George, Jane was Ringo and I was John. We sat in Girl's Glee and sang all of the songs in harmony. We knew every song, every word, every note. In August of 1964 the Beatles came to America on their first U.S. concert tour and performed at Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver. One brave father, Ed Mohorich, fell on his sword and volunteered to make the 110-mile trip with four screaming girls to give us the memory of a lifetime. We got to see the Beatles! I remember every second of that day, the drive up, cars wrapped around the mountain waiting for the theatre to open, all radios tuned to KDZA 660 on your AM dial! The tickets for the show, by the way, were $6.60! I remember every detail. Many years later, I did a concert at the 500-seat Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo. I was on a very high stage, lights in my eyes, so I couldn’t see the audience really, just a few shadows in front. I chose my set well, singing songs and telling stories of growing up in that town and, of course, I ended with the song "In My Life" and dedicated it to Mr. Mohorich, who, I learned, had recently passed away. As I was about to sing the song, I looked into the audience, stage right and there in the front row were the other three girls. We are bonded for life by this song, this memory and by the generous spirit of a man, who I'm sure is a saint in Heaven.

Noah J. Ricketts: "Come Together." "Come Together" is my pick because although the lyrics sound like gibberish at first, you soon discover that they are actually describing all of the members of the Beatles in great detail.

Marissa Mulder: My favorite is "In My Life" because it's so simple and beautiful.

Scott Coulter: "Help!" I didn't grow up listening to The Beatles like so many folks did. Apparently, my parents were not big fans. I knew of them, of course, and had heard the big hits and classics, but it was Tina Turner's cover of "Help!" that made me prick up my ears and start paying attention to their catalogue. For that reason alone, "Help!" will always be special to me.

Karen Mack: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." I completely have a soft spot for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" — just a sucker for those harmonies and horns at the top, and I admit I saw the movie at least 27 times in 1978 (twice at a drive-in.) Don't judge. And please don't hate me for this clip.

Lauren Fox: "Dear Prudence." For years, I thought it was about a sad little girl who was being pleaded with to notice the beauty around her. I've always found it melancholy, and I LOVE anything melancholy. About a year ago, I read Pattie Boyd's autobiography and found out it was about Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence, who went with her sister and The Beatles to study meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India. According to Boyd, Prudence was trying to "Reach God faster than anyone else," by staying in her room for two weeks in a meditative trance, so Lennon wrote the song and played it outside her room in hopes she would "Come out to play." Lennon has said that it's one of his favorite songs by The Beatles!

Michael Holland: "Eleanor Rigby." Hearing this in glorious mono from the kitchen transistor (have I lost you already?) blew my tiny black-and-white mind back in the day. Because George Martin, George Martin, George Martin, you guys. Eight hundred things happening, and you can hear them all, and they all make sense, and then it's over. Destiny decided; another life ruined.

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