Help! We need a Ringo... Wannabe Fab Fours audition for Beatles show

Hundreds flock to theatre for a part in a new musical, reports Charlie Cooper

When The Beatles appeared at West End theatres early in their career, they would be hurried out of taxis, grinning from ear to ear as hoards of adoring female fans screamed their names.

For more than a hundred mop-topped hopefuls arriving at the Gielgud Theatre yesterday to audition for a new Beatles-inspired musical, such adoration was, sadly, in short supply. Inside the theatre, however, the spirit of the Fab Four was alive and well.

The producers of Let it Be, the musical, are looking for a John, a Paul, a George and a Ringo – not to mention a “fifth Beatle” to play keyboard – to star in the show, which is due to open in September, fifty years since The Beatles released their first single Love Me Do.

“I’m going for John. It would be magic,” said one of the first through the door yesterday morning, Michael Pinnington, a 26-year-old scouser. “He’s a hero of mine and to play his music in a place so close to where it all really happened for him would be amazing. I’ve got the accent, the only problem is he was right-handed, and I’m left.”

Warming up downstairs is a rag-tag band of latter-day Beatles – a sea of black suits and Chelsea boots the like of which the West End has not seen in many a long year.

“It’s not my real hair,” insists Matt Nichols, 24, who has just performed a rather impressive Here Comes the Sun in front of the judges. Nichols, like many of the hopefuls, is in a Beatles tribute act and has come decked out in full costume of the Beatlemania era. His band, the Bealtez, play cruise ships.

“I think George Harrison would have found this all a bit strange, but the story of The Beatles is one that people still want to hear, whether you tell it on film, on stage or with their music,” he said.

“We don’t just want look-alikes,” the show’s producer, Jamie Hendry told The Independent in a break between auditions. “What we want is excellent musicians who can sing and play every note, and pick up on every nuance of the way The Beatles did it. We want them not just to look like, but to feel like a Beatle.”

Let it Be, which will take the form of a gig spanning 20 songs from different stages of The Beatles’ career, is the first West End show to be granted the rights to the band’s back catalogue. The Beatles’ rise to stardom will be shown with real footage from the time, but Hendry promises that there will be no storyline “pushed onto the music” in the style of other West End tributes to bands, nor will the songs be altered in any way.

Two sets of four Beatles will eventually be chosen from hundreds of hopefuls. Two keyboardists will also be cast to provide backing and effects for some of the band’s later hits which were never performed live. Another round of open auditions was held at the Cavern Club in Liverpool – where the Beatles played their first gigs – earlier this month.

“It has been great finding talented people without agents, who you just wouldn’t come across through the usual casting channels,” said Hendry. “Out of 60 people who auditioned in Liverpool, we’ve called 15 back to work with them further and expect to take a similar ratio from the London audition.”

Let it Be will have a limited run at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where The Beatles played at the 1963 Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen Mother – a performance remembered for John Lennon iconoclastic jibe, “Could the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands, and the rest of you just rattle your jewellery”.

Isaac Shalam, who at 15-years-old was born nearly forty years after the band split up, took the day off school to have a crack at playing a fittingly baby-faced Paul McCartney.

“My dad refused to play nursery rhymes to me when I was little – I was raised on The Beatles.” he said before his audition. “At my age John and Paul were listening to and copying Elvis and playing with The Quarrymen so in a way I’m like them. But The Beatles made universal music, I don’t think people will ever stop listening to it.”

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering