Lisa Condit spoke with Steve Landes, who plays John Lennon in RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles, coming to The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, March 10. Read on for highlights from the interview or listen to the full interview below, then tune in to WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM or Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews!
Lisa: Steve, I think you’ll find you have a lot of fans here in Worcester.
Steve: The audiences are our favorite thing. That’s why we do what we do. We love the Beatles. The audiences love the Beatles. It’s a huge celebration.
I grew up a Beatles fan. Then I wanted to becomes a musician, got in the “Beatlemania” show and hooked up with RAIN about 20 years ago. We went from being a band to turning it into a theatrical show, which ultimately led us to Broadway and London.
Lisa: What a complete trip! I’m a Beatles fan. I love the songs, and I swear I know the words to all of them.
Steve: I’ve played these songs a million times and yet I always forget the words! That was a John Lennon thing. He always forgot his own words.
Lisa: How do you get into character as John Lennon?
Steve: It helps to have always been a fan, wanting to know who he was and what he was about. If there’s something out, book or video wise, I’ve got it. I’ve studied how he looked, how he walked or how he looked at the other Beatles when they were talking or singing. He was larger than life. Everything he stood for, like peace and love and his humor, I try to bring it all into the mix.
Lisa: This band has such an amazing amount of songs, but they weren’t together for all that long, right?
Steve: Their recording career spanned from ’62-’70 and they were making an album at least twice a year from the beginning, and then one a year from the second half on, iconic albums that have stood the test of time and mean so much to us. The one thing that never changed was that John was the big brother to all of them. Whenever one of the others had the spotlight, John just looked at them with this endearing, brotherly love. That speaks to not only the love that they shared, but also the love that we all have for the Beatles.
Lisa: What can the audience expect from RAIN?
Steve: Last time we were around, we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper.” Now it’s the 50th anniversary of “Abbey Road.” We recreate the way America was introduced to the Beatles with The Ed Sullivan Show. We have multi-media screens. We go through the high points. With the Beatles, you can’t go wrong.
Lisa: What are your top three or five songs to perform?
Steve: It changes. When we added “in My Life” that became my favorite song. When we added “Give Peace a Chance” to rally the audience into this message of peace, that became my favorite song. There are some songs that bring the audience into the show and the feeling of what we are trying to convey. “Hey Jude” is a big one. It’s amazing to see so many generations locking arms, singing the “nah, nah, nahs” at the end. The audience comes to see a show, but we get to see one too, and it’s a beautiful one.
This show is family friendly. That’s the great thing about the Beatles music. It was all about a positive, uplifting message. That’s what our show is all about. This a different show than we brought the last time. If you’ve seen the show, come back. You’re seeing a new show.