I’ll never forget lying in my parents’ bed moments before The Beatles were scheduled to appear on the The Ed Sullivan Show for their first live performance, in February 1964.
A month shy of 17, I waited with great anticipation, along with millions of other teenagers across the country, to hear and see these long-haired boys with cute accents and even cuter faces.
It would be impossible to determine how many times, in the half-century since then, I’ve listened to The Fab Four or read about the intimate details of their lives. How I wanted to be married to Paul!
I recently ‘returned’ to my late teens and early 20s for 90 engrossing minutes, when English actor and musician, John Russell Waters, performed his one-man stage portrait of icon John Lennon, Through A Glass Onion. Co-written with pal and fellow musician, Stewart D’Arrietta (who accompanies Waters on the piano), the show features many examples of Lennon’s music, words and images, including “Revolution,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “Mother,” “All You Need Is Love” and beautiful boy, an ode to his son, Sean, with Yoko Ono.
The team debuted the show in 1992 at the Tilbury Hotel in Sydney, Australia, where Waters has lived since 1968, and has taken it on tour throughout the world for the past two decades. The immensely talented Waters does not impersonate Lennon, but wants to evoke his “honesty, bittersweet humor, self criticism and disdain for pomposity,” he explained to newyorktheatreguide.com. That he does, conveying a passionate reflection of the man, dressed in black pants, T-shirt and leather jacket and occasionally accompanying himself on the guitar.
Touching on pivotal moments in Lennon’s life, in the first person, Waters talks about the real Yoko Ono, the rivalry with Paul McCartney and the Beatles breakup. I was especially moved by “Lennon” giving an account of the death of his mother, Julia, in 1958, when she was 44 and the singer was 17. I don’t remember ever hearing Lennon’s song “Julia,” but I can’t get it out of my mind, now.
The few times the 66-year-old Waters takes a break are when his pianist and singer friend, Stewart D’Arrietta, performs solo. Yet, after delivering intense dialog and emotional singing for 90 minutes (not to mention the 22 years he’s been performing this one-man show), Waters voice didn’t crack once. If you’re a Beatles fan, try to see his performance, at the Union Square Theatre through February 22, 2015. And bring along a Beatle fan from another generation. I took my nephew, Max, a devout Beatles devotee and guitarist. Not prone to giving gratuitous praise, Max told me he thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
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SPECIAL OFFER: For the entire month of November, all veterans, reservists and active military can receive 1 free ticket to the show at the box office with valid military ID. Tickets will be available for that day’s performance(s) when the box office opens at 1pm and all tickets are subject to availability.
1 FOF will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes November 26, 2014 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.