“Backbeat is a show that we have great interest in. Some of us (from Mirvish) went to see it and loved it and think it would have a great life in North America,” said Mirvish spokesman John Karastamatis.
The play, co-produced by Iain Softley — who directed and co-wrote the 1994 film of the same name — follows the early years of the iconic British band.
Karastamatis said a number of details have to be finalized but expressed optimism that Backbeat would have its North American premiere in Toronto.
“We don’t have specifics yet. We don’t know if we are going to bring the original British cast here or if we’ll have our own cast. We do think it will look and fit beautifully into the Royal Alexandra Theatre and it is available this summer and we do hope that will be the venue,” Karastamatis said.
“But we don’t have any other specifics beyond that. We’re working to make this happen and if all goes well, it will happen,” he said.
“We’ve had some success in doing this with other shows like Mamma Mia!, that have come from London and used Toronto as an entry point for North America, and we hope Backbeat will be the next one,” Karastamatis added.
The play centres on the relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe, the band’s original bass player, a German photographer named Astrid Kirchherr, and John Lennon. Sutcliffe died at the age of 22, the same year The Beatles joined with long-time manager Brian Epstein, signed with Sir George Martin and released their first single.
Karastamatis said the play is not strictly a musical but rather “a play punctuated with music.” Numbers will include “Twist and Shout,” “Rock ’n’ Roll Music” and “Long Tall Sally.”
The play has been playing in London’s West End since Sept. 24 and is expected to close on Feb. 18.
While plans have yet to be finalized, one of the show’s producer, Karl Sydow, told Playbill.com: “I am enormously proud to have brought Backbeat to London and look forward to working with David Mirvish to take this great production to Canada next year.”
Impresario David, quoted in the same article, added: “We are very excited to be bringing Backbeat to audiences here in Canada next summer.”