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PREVIEW: ‘LENNON’s BANJO’ AT THE EPSTEIN THEATRE, LIVERPOOL

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BACK in 2004, Rob Fennah of Pulse Records Limited, Alternative Radio and Buster talked about his then new project of turning Helen Forrester’s Twopence To Cross The Mersey into the acclaimed musical it went on to become.
Later, Rob mentioned he was working on another project involving John Lennon’s mum, Julia, teaching The Beatles legend how to play rock’n’roll on her banjo; an instrument now lost but highly sought after by Beatles buffs the world over.
A ‘Holy Grail’ of rock memorabilia if ever there was one.
Now following the publication of a novel both Rob and Helen A. Jones wrote in 2013 called Julia’s Banjo, the book’s stage adaptation Lennon’s Banjo is set to open – somewhat ironically, at The Epstein Theatre – on April 24, featuring a stellar cast of familiar Liverpool faces and (for some performances) a real-life Beatle!
“It’s a relief to get it on stage, yes, but if we take it all the way back, the original idea was for it to be a screenplay for either film or television,” the former Buster rhythm guitarist explained.”There were a lot of filmy people interested too, but then came the big recession of 2009 and all the cash dried up.”That’s when Helen and I decided to write the novel, as a sort of stop gap.”The book got some really good reviews and kept the idea of a film adaptation of Julia’s Banjo very much alive.”The tale tells of how a Beatles tour guide finds a clue to the possible whereabouts of the said banjo … and its estimated monetary worth: £5,000,000.”However, a Texan dealer has got wind of this information and is hell bent on grabbing the instrument by the fretboard and making a dash for the cash.”Over the years since its publication lots of people were asking: ‘whatever happened to that film idea?’
“So a couple of years ago, I decided to adapt the novel myself into a stage play, another stepping stone if you like towards the making of a feature film.”I changed the name to Lennon’s Banjo to appeal to a wider audience, but otherwise kept the structure of the story the same. “In this stage production, we have eight actors playing twenty odd parts, so it’s a pretty big deal.”And with it also being a brand new play, myself and co-producer, Bill Elms, have put our heads on the block in order to get it on.”But because the story is such a fascinating one and weaved around real historical events, we feel it’s a risk well worth taking.”We’re confident people are going to leave the theatre intrigued by the very real possibility that somewhere out there, probably in Liverpool, perhaps in their own attic, is a banjo worth five million quid!”
So, it may have been a long and winding road to get there, something of a mystery tour in its own right, but perseverance very often pays off and there’s a huge cast joining the bus too.

“We’ve got a lot of familiar faces like Mark Moraghan, Eric Potts and Jake Abraham.
“Then there’s Lynn Francis, Stephanie Dooley, Danny O’Brien, Roy Carruthers and Alan Stocks.
“And the icing on the cake has been to get Pete Best involved.
“How that happened was by virtue of the fact he really liked the book.
“When the idea for the play came about, I took it upon myself to ask him whether he could do something and he said yes, wow!
“What Pete particularly liked was the accuracy of the historical facts within the novel.”We didn’t stint on the research for the book and it paid off, now having a real-life Beatle giving it the thumbs up.”Set in present day Liverpool, Pete Best will be playing himself; but for only three performances due to other commitments.”Alan Stocks will be playing the part on other occasions.”I have to say though, the rest of the cast are getting a real kick out of being on stage with an original Beatle! “Pete’s such an integral part of the group’s history, with thirteen of the songs he played on, such as Love Me Do and PS: I Love You, all featuring on the Beatles Anthology.
“He’s very much a part of the band’s story and it’s a real pleasure to have Pete involved.
“I’m sure audiences will be very excited about it too.”

source:wirralglobe.co.uk

HANDWRITTEN ‘HEY JUDE’ LYRICS ON SALE FOR $375K

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A piece of Beatles memorabilia is going up for sale for $375,000 — lyrics handwritten by Paul McCartney for the 1968 classic “Hey Jude” at a recording session.
The same lyrics are seen being used by John Lennon in a videotaped recording, hung from a mike stand. The song is credited to Lennon and McCartney and adapted from a ballad McCartney wrote for Lennon’s son Julian, originally called “Hey Jules.”
Moments in Time dealer Gary Zimet, who is selling the item, said, “This rare lyric sheet was seen being used by Lennon in a filmed recording session and is written all in McCartney’s hand.”

source:pagesix.com

‘DECONSTRUCTING THE BEATLES WHITE ALBUM‘

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Scott Freiman, delivers a live, multimedia presentation on how the Fab Four created the best-selling album of the ’60s in “Deconstructing The Beatles: The White Album” at Danbury’s Palace Theatre on April 20.

What was it like for the Beatles when they were creating the best-selling double album known for such tunes as “Blackbird” and “Dear Prudence”? Scott Freiman, one of the world’s foremost Beatles scholars, answers this question in his live multimedia presentation, “Deconstructing The Beatles: The White Album.”

A composer and producer, Freiman will present his show at Danbury’s Palace Theatre on Friday, April 20. He will share rare insights, anecdotes, film clips and recordings, as he takes audience members on a journey that’s like being transported to the Abby Road Studio along with the Fab Four.

“Deconstructing the Beatles” allows viewers to see and hear the evolution of groundbreaking songs and understand their influence on music. The White Album came out Nov. 22, 1968, making this year the 50th anniversary of its release. Freiman focuses on tunes that have the most interesting backstories, and that best demonstrate the way the band’s members were writing and producing their music at that time. Aside from “Blackbird,” he highlights such classics as “Revolution” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Thousands attend “Deconstructing The Beatles” lectures annually at such venues as the Jacob Burns Film Center in New York and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 2012, Freiman taught a 13-part course called “The Beatles in the Studio” at Yale University.

source:ctpost

RINGO TO PERFORM AT THE BMO HARRIS PAVILION ON SEPT. 8

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Ringo will officially bring his All-Starr Band – comprised this time of the likes of Men At Work’s Colin Hay, Toto’s Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie of Journey and Santana fame and new member Graham Gouldman of 10cc (“I’m Not In Love”) – to the BMO Harris Pavilion on Sept. 8. As always, the show – Ringo’s first in Milwaukee since 2015 – will be a mix of songs by the Beatles, from Ringo’s solo records and All Starr Band members’ performing some of their own hits.

“There is no greater joy for me than playing great music with great musicians,” Starr said, in a release. “Every night we get to play for all those loving people and it makes the hassle of touring worth it. It is a Peace & Love fest and I can’t wait to see you all out there this summer and fall.”

Get your Tickets for the special BMO Harris Pavilion show.

TICKETSHERE.

NEW JOHN LENNON ‘IMAGINE NO HUNGER’ LICENSE PLATES WILL SUPPORT CALIFORNIA FOOD BANKS

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California motorists may soon have an opportunity to help in the efforts to feed the hungry in California with new John Lennon inspired specialty license plates. The plate design features John Lennon’s iconic self-portrait sketch and the words “Imagine No Hunger” inscribed on the bottom.

They are available now for pre-order at CaliforniaImagine.com and will only go into production after 7,500 pre-paid applications are received by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The proceeds from the sales are set to go to the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB), which partners with more than 40 food banks across the state to help feed an estimated two million Californians in need.

The cost of the plates range from $50 to $103, depending on the customization of the design. The Imagine project is being sponsored by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).Yoko Ono Lennon authorized the use of her late husband’s image.“Imagine is a great word to spread around and I’m happy to do this because it’s helping a very important charity,” Ono said in a press release.

Organizers say Lennon’s legacy as a humanitarian makes him a powerful symbol in the efforts to fight hunger. “Working together we can realize a hunger-free California,” said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. “The Imagine plates not only raise awareness of the scope of the challenge, but also directly help alleviate hunger in our state,” Bacho added. The Lennon license program was officially launched in Anaheim on Saturday and events to promote the new design are being planned for the coming months in San Francisco and other cities. Organizers say they’re excited about the project and this unique chance to get Californians involved in the fight to end hunger.

“The Imagine license plate offers an opportunity for Californians to say ‘hit the road’ to hunger in our state,” said Sue Sigler, Executive Director of California Association of Food Banks.