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
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
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.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam