Scott Christensen Brings The Beatles to Broadway in Let It Be
An interview with the new concert musical's "Creative Director."
Not many Broadway shows have a "Creative Director" on the payroll but then, not many shows are Let It Be, a two-and-a-half-hour musical tribute to the legendary band The Beatles. Scott Christensen — a CCMA Music Award-winning musician and production designer — is that person. With costumes that re-create the Fab Four's look and projections that extend throughout the St. James Theatre, Let It Be is a close approximation of the look of some of The Beatles' most momentous concerts. The day before the show officially opened on Broadway, TheaterMania chatted with Christensen about what it takes to put up a show of this caliber on the Great White Way.
What is your background in music?
I grew up as a musician and played for years. That's a big part of my love for the show and [admiration for] what [The Beatles] did to the music industry and pop music in general. From there, I got into production and tour management. It's been growing since.
How do you describe Let It Be?
Essentially, it's a retrospective of [the Beatles'] career that takes you from The Cavern in the early sixties right up to "Abbey Road" and the end of their career as a group. The show chronologically follows the order. We look at the Cavern, which leads into the Ed Sullivan Show performance; it touches on the era when they were doing movies and the iconic concert at Shea Stadium. From there, we go into Sgt. Pepper and the peace and love [era].
As a creative director, what do you do?
I work with the lead producer and look after all the production and creative aspects, staying as true as possible and getting it as correct as possible.
With so many songs in the production, are you upset that any got away?
That's a tough one when you look at the catalogue. We have a deal with Sony; a bulk of the show is grouped around our agreement with them. It's the highlights of their career; the hits, the cult favorites…We constantly want to put songs in or take songs out. When you're looking at these different aspects of their career, it gets challenging…As the show evolves, we do bring new songs in and out. There's always someone [who] leaves saying, "We wish they played ‘Penny Lane.'" It's a really tough call.
What is your favorite Beatles song?
I have numerous ones, actually. There are so many big songs on "Sgt. Pepper." Obviously they changed the face of pop music numerous times. And obviously the early hits that are straight-up rock-and-roll tunes. That's a tough one to narrow down.