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The best thing about sharing a role with his father playing Paul McCartney in the tribute show "Rain" is getting to share everything on the road, says 26-year-old Paul Curatolo. And that includes eyeliner.
His father, Joey, joined the show in 1983, so when Paul Curatolo was born six years later, he was born into The Beatles business. "I was always surrounded by it," he says from the road in Arizona.
"Rain," the Beatles tribute show that has been touring continually for 35 years, returns to Salt Lake City on Saturday for two shows at Kingsbury Hall.
Curatolo started playing with his father in the show about three years ago. They share the position, with the younger Curatolo now playing the majority of shows. He's the spitting image of his father, who was one of the best actors/musicians to play McCartney, says Lee Marshall, a Park City-based producer for MagicSpace Entertainment. "And it's pretty cool to see the role passed down," Marshall says.
Paul Curatolo taught himself to play drums at age 10 in order to play "Day Tripper," so at first he considered himself more of a Ringo Starr fan. Over the years, he took up the guitar, fiddling around by teaching himself Green Day covers, and then fell even more into the music of the rock band that is his family's business.
"My brain exploded," he says as he learned to play the McCartney role. "The Beatles are just the perfect Music Theory 101 course."
About five or six years ago, his father offered to teach him the role for "Rain," and then producers asked the young musician to experiment with learning to play guitar left-handed, like McCartney. "I spent the summer training my body to think left, to think the other way," Paul Curatolo says.
Curatolo considers himself part of the YouTube Beatles generation, who have become almost more knowledgeable about the band by watching videos of interviews and performances, in contrast to his father's generation, who were "live" Beatles fans.
From the stage, most nights he watches three generations of fans dancing in the aisles. "Whenever I see that, I make a point to applaud them, because it just means good parenting," he says.
He explains that he believes the Beatles catalog has become like the classical music of the rock canon. Listening to the band's "very challenging, intricate" songs will help to shape a child's brain, says Curatolo, who says he and the other musician/actors in the show are "fans first."
He loves all the moods offered by the show's 36-song set, from the energy of the "Sgt. Pepper" songs to the reserve of "Let It Be." And then there's "Yesterday," where he likes the chance to welcome the audience and invite them along for the journey of the show. He especially loves watching audience members get up and dance, and invites them to sing louder than he does.
That kind of energy is what persuaded Marshall to sign on as a producer of the show. About 10 or 11 years ago, he was invited to see a "Rain" show in Cleveland, where the State Theater's volunteer army of red-coated ushers, aged 55 to 75, boogied in the aisles at the back of the theater.
"This is the coolest thing we've ever seen, and we've seen every show that's come through town for the last 20 years," the ushers told Marshall. "They had me at the ushers," the producer says.
The updated version of the show offers colorful, psychedelic videos that explode off the LED screens. "When you've seen 'Rain,' you've seen the best Beatles show on the planet," Marshall says.
'Rain, I don't mind'
The Beatles tribute act plays two shows in Salt Lake City, for the first time since 2012.
When • Saturday, April 16, 3 and 8 p.m.; the 36-song set runs about two hours, including 15-minute intermission
Where • Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah campus, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $35-$65 (plus fees) at tickets.utah.edu or 801-581-7100