Northeast Times

Playing Beatle tunes never gets old for ‘Rain’ performer

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Steve Landes was raised in Lans­dale with his par­ents, sib­lings — and a large dose of mu­sic by the Beatles.

“I grew up in the ’70s after the era of the Beatles,” said the 30-something Landes, “but my whole fam­ily was so heav­ily in­to their mu­sic, that I got in­to them too. My fam­ily would listen to the oldies sta­tions on the ra­dio, so I had a lot of ’50s and ’60s mu­sic around me all the time.”

In fact, John Len­non be­came one of Landes’ all-time fa­vor­ites, and today Landes plays the part of Len­non in Rain — A Trib­ute To The Beatles, re­turn­ing to Phil­adelphia at the Academy of Mu­sic Jan. 31 to Feb. 5.

Landes, along with oth­er “Beatles” in the show — Paul, George and Ringo — per­form the full range of the Beatles’ dis­co­graphy live on­stage, in­clud­ing the most com­plex and chal­len­ging songs that the Beatles them­selves re­cor­ded in the stu­dio but nev­er per­formed for an audi­ence. To­geth­er longer than the Beatles them­selves, Rain has mastered every song, ges­ture and nu­ance of the le­gendary four­some, from the early hits to later clas­sics.

Some of the mu­sic in­cluded in the show are I Want To Hold Your Hand, Hard Day’s Night, Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be and many, many more.

Landes, who de­scribes him­self as a sing­er, song­writer, mu­si­cian, “and oc­ca­sion­al act­or when ne­ces­sary,” ex­plained that he’s been with the cast of Rain since 1998, and played in the ori­gin­al Broad­way cast.

“That first night on Broad­way was ex­cit­ing,” Landes said. “We’d been do­ing the show around the world for about five years up to that point, just tour­ing around, with Broad­way as our ul­ti­mate goal. So when it fi­nally happened, it was a bit of a re­lief to fi­nally reach that pin­nacle after all that time. Also a re­lief was that fact that I didn’t get sick or break any­thing be­fore the open­ing. I was afraid something would hap­pen and they’d go on without me and I’d miss my big Broad­way break. But all went well.”

Now tour­ing with this com­pany, Landes said he al­ways viewed it as a priv­ilege to be tak­ing the part of Len­non in this highly suc­cess­ful show.

“To be play­ing this rock and roll icon and the mu­sic he left be­hind with its mes­sages of peace and love is huge,” Landes said. “That could be in­tim­id­at­ing if I were try­ing to take on his char­ac­ter, but I’m not. I’m only try­ing to rep­lic­ate his mu­sic as best as pos­sible and bring his mes­sage to people that might not have heard it be­fore. Our show is really a cel­eb­ra­tion of the mu­sic and the guys who brought it to us. And I think that their mu­sic is still rel­ev­ant today.”

Landes said people keep com­ing back to see Rain be­cause it’s ba­sic­ally “a happy and up­lift­ing show, where by the end of it, audi­ences leave so happy and so pos­it­ive. So no mat­ter what’s go­ing on in this world, the Beatles’ beau­ti­ful mu­sic speaks to everything and every­body.”

Grow­ing up, Landes ex­plained that his par­ents gif­ted him with a gui­tar when he was just 10 years old.

“My dad began teach­ing me gui­tar chords, and I learned a lot of mu­sic listen­ing to the Beatles re­cords that were all over my house,” he said. “I think get­ting that gui­tar and learn­ing how to play was one of the hap­pi­est days of my life.”

And he said his life as Landes/Len­non con­tin­ues to be happy and ful­filling:

“I look for­ward to be­ing with this show as long as pos­sible, while put­ting my own ori­gin­al mu­sic up on the In­ter­net. That way, I sort of have my cake and eat it too.” ••

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-731-3333.

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