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Preview: The death of a Beatle takes centre stage in new show | Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Preview: The death of a Beatle takes centre stage in new show | Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Preview: The death of a Beatle takes centre stage in new show | Saskatoon StarPhoenix
January 10
11:03 2019

On the evening of Monday, Dec. 8, 1980, renowned sportscaster Howard Cosell announced the death of Beatles icon John Lennon to the world during the final minutes of Monday Night Football.

The news rocked a nation — and it’s a moment Todd Devonshire wants to get right in his play, Monday Night, the next Live Five production in Saskatoon.

“I believe in a lot of those things that Lennon believed in,” Devonshire said. “It’s really exciting to see everything … I guess the bad pun would be ‘Come Together.’ ”

A lifelong Beatles fan, Devonshire said he’d never really thought about the way Lennon’s death was presented to the public until he happened across a YouTube video of Cosell’s infamous declaration during the last moments of that game between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins in 1980.

Devonshire said he was almost physically affected when he heard the video of Cosell giving the devastating news to the country.

“Chills just went up and down my spine,” he said. “I was just completely blown away.”

Devonshire, the playwright and producer for Monday Night, said his show follows the stories of three different perspectives from that fateful night: a pair of musicians who believed in Lennon’s ideals, a reporter at the hospital waiting for confirmation of his death, and Cosell and Frank Gifford deciding if and how to announce Lennon’s passing.

The Beatles weren’t just a revolutionary band during their era. From Devonshire’s perspective, they were the leading faces of the ’60s counterculture movement across North America. That’s why he wanted to explore multiple perspectives in his show: Lennon’s death meant different things to different people.

He feels that the social revolution sparked by the Beatles died at the same time Lennon did in 1980, Devonshire says. He was just a small boy when Lennon was killed, and a few years later was devastated to find out Lennon was dead when he asked his dad why the Beatles weren’t still making music.

“I think one of the most powerful mediums we have is music. The Beatles really did change people’s opinions and minds,” he said.

With a small cast of just six performers, Devonshire said he wanted to tell the more intimate stories of people whose lives were affected by Lennon’s death, instead of the wider picture of the whole country. When the audience walks into the Live Five show, they immediately become part of the story that’s being told, he said.

As he puts it, everybody has music “that’s changed their lives.” The Beatles did that for him, even though he didn’t live through their peak.

For everyone who comes to see Monday Night, that’s the message Devonshire hopes the audience can walk away with: even in very dark and tense times, “Lennon’s message is still there. We just have to get together and make sure it all happens,” he said.

“Whether you’re a Beatles fan or not … if you’ve been curious about what Lennon and the Beatles meant, this is a show to come see.”

Highway 55 Productions

Monday Night

When: Jan. 10 to Jan. 20

Where: The Refinery

Tickets: $25 for adults; $22 for students, seniors, artists


Source: Preview: The death of a Beatle takes centre stage in new show | Saskatoon StarPhoenix

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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