After a badly received out-of-town tryout, a delay in opening and much-talked-about retooling, this Broadway musical celebrating the life and music of the late, lamented ex-Beatle finally has arrived.
Neither the disaster it's been rumored to be nor the triumph for which its creators undoubtedly hoped, "Lennon" boasts, predictably enough, terrific music performed by a talented nine-person cast and a well-rehearsed onstage band. But the awkward concept and stilted execution of this bio-musical/concert will prevent it from attaining hit status, and it remains to be seen how far its subject's enduring appeal will take it.
The concept of the show, which was conceived, directed and written by Don Scardino, is to present an impressionistic portrait of Lennon's life, with a particular emphasis on his post-Beatles years. The score, consisting of songs written entirely by its subject (it includes none of his collaborations with Paul McCartney), is performed both in concert style and as musical commentary on the biographical proceedings, reports Reuters.
According to CNN, Yoko Ono, who has attended many of the rehearsals and most of the New York preview performances, said Scardino did his research well, scouring through interviews and tapes with Lennon from throughout his life, and she only stepped in to correct historical details.
"The whole musical is all in John's words," she said in written answers to questions from Reuters.
"It is definitely John's story - from Liverpool 1940 to New York 1980. I am the B-side, and that's how it should be."
Ono said that as a "working class hero," Lennon would have loved to see his story and music reaching such a wide audience in the popular format of a Broadway musical.