By Robert Simonson
and Ernio Hernandez
07 Dec 2004
The songs, "India, India," "I Don't Want to Lose You," and "Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love)," were written by Lennon at various times in his life. The first two exist in private recordings. ("India" was written in 1968.) Ringo Starr recorded the third in 1976, though Lennon never did. Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has given director Don Scardino the go-ahead to use them.
"They're very appropriate for the periods they are showing," Ono told the New York Times. "People would say to me, `What are you going to do about all of John's unreleased songs?' And I've always sais, `I will put them out, but I have to find ways to present them in the right way. For these songs, I thought the musical would be a very effective, beautiful way to do it.'"
Lennon will have its world premiere at San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre (April 12-May 14) and then a stint at Boston's Colonial Theatre (May 31-June 25) before coming to Broadway.
Written and directed by Don Scardino, the new musical is based on the songs of the late pop music icon, performer and songwriter John Lennon. The stagings are set for San Francisco (April 5-May 7, 2005) and Boston (May 24-June 18, 2005).
Producers Edgar Lansbury, Don Scardino and Allan McKeown in association with Clear Channel Entertainment present the work by arrangement with Yoko Ono.
The design team of Lennon includes John Arnone (scenic), Jane Greenwood (costumes) and Natasha Katz (lighting). Joe Malone provides choreography.
"I was after something that was very theatrical and that would, for the audience, really bring forward the real living idea of John Lennon," director Don Scardino previously told Playbill On-Line about his upcoming piece.
"The idea is basically as if an acting troupe walked on stage, unpacked their bags and said 'Tonight, we do John Lennon' just like the players in Hamlet [say] here's The Murder of Gonzago. Well, here's the murder of John Lennon, [or] the life of John Lennon. Doing so, the actors on stage all take up his voice and his time and be another facet of that personality and basically make up the measure of the man in the process, through the course of the evening. And ultimately, Lennon speaks for himself at the end of the piece, by showing the 'Imagine' film."
Scardino said that Lennon will tell the tale of more than just a musician: "He always seemed to be ahead of the curve. Or, by example, the curve followed him. He was such a leader for a certain generation, particularly, that he's emblematic of the times he came through."
Scardino summed up the concept as "not only how his life defined the times, but how the times defined him."
The musical will feature 10 actors portraying John Lennon at various stages in his life backed by an onstage 10-piece band. Twenty-seven songs from the substantial Lennon oeuvre will be featured in the musical, among them "Imagine," "Instant Karma," "Give Peace a Chance," "(Just Like) Starting Over" and "Whatever Gets You Through the Night."
Performance schedules and ticketing information for all venues will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit www.lennonthemusical.com.