A new Beatles revue has opened on Broadway to fairly positive reviews. Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles arrived at the St. James Theatre in New York on Wednesday, and though the production is described as a tribute rock show – not a musical play or jukebox musical – critics have given the show generally favorable reviews.
Though Anita Gates at the New York Times noted that at normal concerts “nobody has to instruct the audience to stand,” she also praised the production in comparison to similar shows. “I can happily report that Let It Be is by far the best of the bunch,” Gates wrote. “The word ‘celebration’ in the subtitle is well chosen, and the performers are outstanding, as nostalgia substitutes and as musicians in their own right.”
Other critics noted the strength of Let It Be‘s source material, which features about 40 Beatles songs, making the show difficult to truly botch – but also leaving more to be desired. “[Let It Be] aspires to be nothing more than a nostalgia trip, and as such it’s about as engaging as you could expect,” Elysa Gardner wrote in USA Today.
Newsday’s Linda Winer was much harsher in her review. “[This] strikes me as the cheesiest yet of the Beatles so-called celebrations,” she wrote, “intended for audiences who prefer live fakes to experiencing the real thing on great documentaries and albums.“
Let It Be is itself still mired in disagreement, according to the Independent: The show’s producers are dealing with a lawsuit from the creators of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, a similar musical tribute that ran on Broadway from October 2010 to July 2011, alledging they lifted elements of their show.