Complete casting has been announced for the American premiere of Backbeat, the stage adaptation of the 1994 film about the formation of The Beatles. Directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux, who also helmed the show's London run, the previously announced production has shifted its start date to January 20 at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre. The production, which is also eyeing a Broadway transfer, will officially open on January 30, playing a limited engagement through March 1.
West End cast members Nick Blood (Stuart Sutcliffe), Andrew Knott (John Lennon), Oliver Bennett (Pete Best) and Daniel Healy (Paul McCartney) will be joined in the U.S. transfer by Leanne Best (Astrid Kirchherr) and Daniel Westwick (George Harrison). Rounding out the cast are ensemble members Edward Clarke, Josie Dunn, Sam Ford, Mark Hammersley, Perry Ojeda, Charlotte Palmer, Phil Pritchard, Dominic Rouse, Louise Shuttleworth, Adam Sopp, Charles Swift, James Wallace and Miranda Wilford.
Set in the early 1960s, Backbeat follows John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison and original Beatles members Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe on their journey as young rockers in Liverpool and Hamburg. Sutcliffe's romance with German artist Astrid Kircherr soon gets in the way of the band's music. At only 22, the bassist died the same year the Beatles hired Brian Epstein as their manager and released their first single, "Love Me Do."
Backbeat ran in the West End from September 2011 through February 2012, and is co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys. The original film was written by Softley, Michael Thomas and Stephen Ward.