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Beatles Are Latest Bet for Concert-Friendly Broadway

West End tribute concert 'Let It Be' to play the St. James Theater starting in July

After a legit season that has underscored the financial viability of concert engagements on Broadway, the Beatles are back to give it a go: West End title “Let It Be” is gearing up for a Rialto incarnation that will play a 5½-month run starting in July.

Tribute concertLet It Be” may not be a traditional legit offering, but it seems like a solid box office bet. A similar Beatles-inspired outing, “Rain,” did well enough in a limited run at the Neil Simon Theater in 2010 that it shifted to the Brooks Atkinson for a six-month follow-up stint in early 2011.

More recently, just-shuttered “The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream” — which, unlike “Let It Be” and “Rain,” was centered around a concert by the original members of the band — posted notably robust sales, last week pulling in more than $820,000 from just five perfs. Earlier in the 2012-13 season, “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on Broadway” raked in big money from just a handful of shows in the fall, and “Manilow on Broadway” extended its spring run thanks to strong B.O.

“Let It Be” also has a track record in London, where the show opened last year and plans to continue its open-ended engagement indefinitely. “Rain” veteran Joey Curatolo directed the U.K. staging of “Let It Be,” but the Stateside version, produced by Jeff Parry/Annerin Prods., will be steered by a creative team yet to be set.

Show cues up 40 of the Beatles’ hits to retrace the career of the four-man band, portrayed on stage by actor-musicians.

“Let It Be” begins previews at the St. James Theater July 16 with an opening night set for July 24. The show fills a programming gap at the theater ahead of the upcoming musical adaptation of “Bullets Over Broadway,” which venue landlord Jujamcyn Theaters has booked for the St. James for a spring 2014 opening.

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