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.EndFragment