Performances: November 1-11, 1995 and February 14-17, 1996
Boston Rock Opera presented Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — a concert, performing the classic Beatles’ concept album as a rock vaudevillian concert intertwined with a loose narrative of emotional highs and lows, during November 1995 and then for a special one-week run in February, 1996. The shows were enthusiastically received by fans who packed the Lansdowne Street Playhouse and braved the New England blizzards to spend a splendid time with Sgt. Pepper and his troupe.
“A splendid, joyous production that’ll bring a smile to your face”
The Boston Globe
“An original and creative vision” The Noise
“The band meets the daunting challenge
of covering one of the best-loved albums in rock ‘n roll history”
The Boston Herald
“Fresh and on-the-money”
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Stage adaptation by Eleanor Ramsay
for Boston Rock Opera
Doug Thoms The Barker
Tim Robert Billy Shears *
Susan Barnaby Lucy
Patrick Goggin The Young Boy
Dave Minehan The Boyfriend
Carolyn Kaylor The Young Woman
Linda Viens The Mother
Lynette Estes Krishna
T Max Man From the Motor Trade
Randy Black The Romantic
Denise DiZio Rita
Rick Shaw The Slacker
Mick Maldonado Sgt Pepper
Mick Maldonado guitar, keyboards
Matt Thorsen guitar
Dave Pace bass
Nigel Matthews drums
Jeff Allison keyboards
Joshua Hauser trombone, euphonium
Mike Breidegam saxophone, clarinet, flute *
Scott Getchell trumpet
Michael Knoblach tabla
Chris Mascara sitar
Mark Janowitz, Douglas O’Flaherty,
* Bill Goffrier played the role of Billy Shears in the original presentation.
* Ken Field played saxophone and flute in the original presentation.
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was probably one of the most anticipated album releases of all time. The Beatles spent more than five months and $75,000 dollars (a pittance today but unheard of at the time) using the studio as a creative laboratory and pushing the boundaries of 4-track recording. The original concept was to loosely string together songs about life in Liverpool but the first two songs recorded on this theme, Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane were released early by a nervous Brian Epstein. Since singles did not appear on albums in Britain back then they were removed from the Sgt Pepper’s line-up. The songs the Beatles composed next dealt more with alienation, mistrust of modern society and the loneliness of ordinary people rather than a look back at old Liverpool.
It was not until late in the sessions that the Beatles got excited about creating an alter-ego for the band, presenting the songs as though they were a concert by Sgt Pepper and his troupe. This new theme was the inspiration for the famous photo in which Sgt Pepper’s band performs for the assembled celebrities and gurus; the Beatles “invited guests.” Of course Sgt Pepper’s was never performed live. The Beatles concert was a come on. They could not have performed such complex songs live at that time even if they had wanted to. Sgt Pepper’s confirmed that the Beatles were now exclusively a “studio band.” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band became one of the most written about and best selling albums ever and forever changed the rules of rock recording.