Beatlemania was a Broadway musical revue focused on the music of The Beatles as it related to the events and changing attitudes of the tumultuous Sixties. A “rockumentary”, advertised as “Not the Beatles, but an incredible simulation”, it ran from 1977 to 1979 for a total of 920 performances.

Originally conceived and produced by Steve Leber and David Krebs, Beatlemania began previews on May 26, 1977 in Boston. It premiered on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on May 31, 1977, (after previewing from May 26) and ran until October 17, 1979, for a total of 1006 performances.

During its New York run, the show moved to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and finally the Palace Theatre. The production was nominated for the 1978 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design by designer Jules Fisher, while the sound engineer was longtime industry veteran William (Bill) Rofot.

After closing on Broadway, the “Beatlemania Bus and Truck tour” began, running until 1983 and touring across the United States and worldwide.

A lawsuit by the Beatles company Apple Corps officially ended the show for a period of time but revival tours still continue today.

In 1978, Beatlemania released a self-titled original cast album of the show. Released on Arista Records, the album received warm audience reaction even placing on the Billboard 200 for several weeks before falling into vinyl obscurity.

After three years of production USA Video Productions took an interest in making a film version of the Beatlemania stage show. After a brief contract negotiation, Beatlemania: The Movie began production in late 1980 (shortly before the murder of John Lennon).

The film’s cast featured Mitch Weissman (bass guitar), David Leon (rhythm guitar), Tom Teeley (lead guitar), and Ralph Castelli (drums).

The reactions to Beatlemania: The Movie were cold and plans for a follow-up film were immediately shelved after several poor reviews of the way the film was produced (several critics complained of the film being too art based and not worthy of being associated with the stageshow Beatlemania).

The movie was released on VHS and Betamax for the home movie market in the USA, in Japan it was also out on laser disc.

Never released on DVD, here’s a YouTube adaptation.

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1 Response

  1. WannaBeatle says:

    I've always heard that Leber and Krebs were wanting to do another movie. I seriously don't know how that'd happen. But, during the success of the show, they were wanting to do the same treatment to other artists. I can see that happening, I actually wished the show would have gone on longer. Apple, was suing everyone that was able to breathe in those days. They probably still want to, but, I don't think they're as sue happy with the tribute bands as they used to be.

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