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February 06, 2014 - Image 51

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-02-06

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arts & entertainment


in America:

A multimedia salute
to the Beatles —
five decades after
the Fab Four's
appearance on The




Ed Sullivan Show.

Gail Zimmermann
Arts Editor

In 1997, Paul McCartney said, "If any-
one was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian
The Fifth Beatle (M Press/Dark Horse
Comics), a new graphic novel about the
life of Jewish Beatles manager Brian
Epstein — born on Yom Kippur in 1934 to
an Orthodox family in Liverpool, England
— has been written by Vivek Tiwary, with
illustrations by Andrew Robinson.
Tiwary, a Broadway producer of Indian
heritage, told the Forward that he has
studied Epstein for more than 20 years and
interviewed the people who knew him.
"The heart of it is that he was gay, Jewish
and from Liverpool, which in the 1960s
were three significant obstacles:' he said.
The Fifth Beatle contrasts "the Epstein
who was both a good Jewish boy, who
minded the family business (North End
Music Store) and was a brilliant entertain-
ment entrepreneur with the Epstein who
was a lonely misfit who self-medicated to
quell his tremendous inner turmoil about
being gay during a time when homosexu-
ality was a felony in his native England:'
the Forward article continues.
Epstein died in 1967 of an accidental,
sleeping-pill overdose. His death marked
the beginning of the breakup of the Beatles.
Belatedly, Epstein will be inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Also of note is the publication of the
first volume of a trilogy: The Beatles:
All These Years, a new biography of the
Beatles by British-Jewish Fab Four author/
historian Mark Lewisohn. In Tune In
(Crown Archtype), Lewisohn, who spent
10 years researching this book, tells a
lesser-known Beatles story, detailing the
group's years in Liverpool and Hamburg,
Germany, and chronicling their family
backgrounds, childhoods and infatuation



The Fifth Beatle tells the story of

Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

A newly released CD box set includes the
American versions of the Beatles' early
British albums.

A TV special
the Fab
Four's debut
performance on

The Ed Sullivan
Show airs Feb. 9.

with American music.
Combining much never-before-told
material with a refreshing of previously
reported stories — and accessing new
sources and newly available research
materials — Lewisohn's narrative weaves
together the biographies of John Lennon,
Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo
Starr, Brian Epstein and producer George
"It all boils down to this:' says Lewisohn.
"They were four war babies from Liverpool
who really did change the world, and whose
music and impact still lives on in so many
ways, after all these years. I say, let's scrub
what we all know, or think we know, and
start over. Who really were these people,
and how did it all happen?"

Two films on the late Brian Epstein, the
Beatles manager, are reportedly in the works.
Broadway producer Vivek J. Tiwary
(American Idiot, The Addams Family) is
adapting his and artist Andrew Robinson's
graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle, about
Epstein and the six years he managed
the group, into a film, with Peyton Reed
(Bring It On) directing.
Tiwary has acquired the rights to the

Beatles' recordings of their songs, a first
for a movie project. He is writing the
screenplay and co-producing the film
with Oscar-winning Jewish producer
Bruce Cohen (American Beauty and Silver

Linings Playbook).
Production is slated to begin this year;
there has been no announcement of who
will play Epstein.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that PBS's
Masterpiece Theatre's Sherlock director
Paul McGuigan will direct Sherlock star
Benedict Cumberbatch as Epstein in a
biopic that "will focus on Epstein's private
life, presumably dealing with his struggles
as a gay, Jewish man living in the bigoted
English society of the '50s and early '60s."
Jewish actor-writer-director Todd Graff
(Camp, Joyful Noise) will write the screen-
play for Tom Hanks' Playtone production


The Beatles were announced as the recipi-
ents of a Lifetime Achievement Award
at this year's Grammy Awards on Jan. 26.
Throughout the show, the cameras repeat-
edly focused on surviving Beatles Paul
McCartney and Ringo Starr and their
wives — Nancy Shevell, a New Jersey-born

Jew who attended Yom Kippur services
with Paul a day before their 2011 wedding;
and Barbara Bach, nee Goldbach, the New
York-born daughter of a Jewish father and
Roman Catholic mother, who married
Ringo in 1981.
Following McCartney and Starr's first
reunion performance together in five
years on the Grammy broadcast, CBS has
another show on tap celebrating the legacy
of the Fab Four. It will mark their iconic
first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show,
on Feb. 9, 1964.
The two-hour The Night That Changed

America: A Grammy Salute to the
Beatles will feature another McCartney-
Starr reunion and will be shown at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 9, marking the 50th anni-
versary to the day of the Beatles' debut on
Jewish producer Ken Ehrlich, who
helmed The Grammy Awards, is oversee-
ing this special as well; it was taped at the
Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 27,
when many performers were still in town
after the Grammy ceremonies. The event
will include contemporary artists covering
the songs the Beatles performed during
their Ed Sullivan appearance and other
Beatles classics.
Performers will include the Eurythmics
(a reunion of Annie Lennox and Dave
Stewart), John Mayer (who considers him-
self "half-Jewish" from his father's side of
the family) and Keith Urban, Alicia Keys
and John Legend, and Maroon 5, with
Jewish frontman Adam Levine. The show
also will include footage from the Beatles'
actual Sullivan appearance and other
archival material.
The same evening, from 6-8 p.m., CBS
News will present 50 Years: The Beatles,
a live multimedia event, which will take
place at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New
York City, on the stage where the Beatles
actually performed.
Included will be a symposium featur-
ing Pattie Boyd, former wife of George
Harrison; Andrew Loog Oldham, former
assistant to Brian Epstein; Mick Jones
of Foreigner; and Julie Taymor, director
of the Beatles tune-filled film Across the
The event will be live-streamed on cbs.

Beatlemania on page 52

February 6 • 2014


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