I have been a fan of the British Invasion sound all my life, and many years ago I said to a close friend that I would love to pay tribute to that era with a show called Twist and Shout. Not sure what took so long, but here we are 30 years later. Okay, I’ve been busy! The inspiration for the show came to me when I attended a taping of the David Letterman show a number of years ago. It happens to be housed in the old Ed Sullivan Theatre on Broadway in New York City. I started thinking about the first time The Beatles appeared on that show, in that theatre – on February 9th, 1964. They actually played to a television audience of 73 million – the largest audience ever assembled in the history of American TV up to that time.
A lot of research followed and of course a show like this calls for a collaboration of sorts. I approached my good friend and one of Canada’s leading Music Directors, Bob Foster. When I told him my idea on how to approach the subject matter he immediately agreed to participate. He would write all the vocal and band arrangements. Soon after, Gino Berti joined the team as our brilliant choreographer. I also wanted to include some historic visual elements to the show so I contacted my colleagues Peter Conrad and Steve Kelly who excel in documentary production. One further piece of the puzzle was to involve Michael Bignell, a life-long friend who could contribute his historical expertise of the period.
The true British Invasion took place between 1964 and 1967 in America and this fresh sound would dominate the American music scene like nothing before or since. In a musical revue format of this period we pay tribute to all those great acts that forever changed the landscape of modern music.
This was a very important period of time in modern culture. Little did we know the arrival of The Beatles in New York would change the world forever. Over that four year period – and very much continuing today – the British Invasion influenced the music charts, the movies, and the fashion stores. When The Beatles led the Invasion in 1964 they provided us a fresh, exciting sound like we’d never heard before, creating a tremendous influence not only on the world of music but also on the whole of society.
We now ask you to sit back in this most beautiful theatre and enjoy a walk down memory lane. And please… feel free to Twist and Shout.
Artistic Director, award-winning Drayton Entertainment (25 Years). Director, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels North American tour. Director, Spamalot (Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton). Productions at The Piggery (North Hatley, Quebec), Stage West (Mississauga) and Lighthouse Festival (Port Dover). Producer, Godspell and Camelot North American tours. Awards: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Theatre Ontario, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Twitter @AlexMustakas