The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

'Interactive' Beatles tribute coming to Sidney this week

 

For The Sun-Telegraph

Billy McGuigan, creator of Yesterday and Today: An Interactive Beatles Experience, is bringing the show to Sidney High School this Friday night.

This isn't your ordinary Beatles tribute show.

Yesterday and Today: An Interactive Beatles Experience is a concert event coming to Sidney this week, and it won't be performed by Fab Four impersonators. Don't expect wigs, fake Liverpool accents and ankle boots on stage for this show.

What audiences can expect is a unique, interactive entertainment experience where they choose the set list and share the reasons behind their love of the Beatles.

The show will be Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Sidney High Performing Arts Center.

Billy McGuigan, creator of Yesterday and Today, started it as a tribute to his father, Bill, who died of leukemia in 1996 at the age of 42. A huge Beatles fan, Bill was the source of McGuigan's earliest exposure to the band.

McGuigan's dad was in the military, and the family didn't have much money. Instead of going out to dinner or to movies, they turned to music.

"Music was always really, really important to my brothers and I," McGuigan said. "Music was always so involved with everything we did."

This isn't McGuigan's first foray into musical tributes. He was the star of the 2002 Omaha Community Playhouse musical "Buddy," the story of Buddy Holly, which set box office records. He subsequently took the show, called Rave On!: The Buddy Holly Experience on the road.

"It really took off, and my career took off," he said.

McGuigan is also the creator of Rock Legends, an interactive concert featuring songs by Elvis Presley, the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac and more. He performs all three nationally-acclaimed shows with his brothers, Matthew and Ryan, along with Jay Hanson, Rich Miller and Tara Vaughan.

Not bad for a kid who started his showbiz career as a 1-year-old by winning a Fonzie look-alike contest.

McGuigan was the first person in his family to graduate from college, and he was getting his second teaching degree when he starred in the play "Buddy". He had always wanted to pursue music and act.

"Everybody tells you, you can't," he said. "Screw that. I'm going to make it happen. When it didn't happen, I kept trying."

McGuigan has been performing these concerts for 12 years now, touring eight months out of the year, and he loves it.

"It has far exceeded any expectations I ever would have had," he said. "There isn't any aspect I don't love about it. I just love every part of it."

As for the show coming to Sidney, McGuigan promises that audiences will have never seen one like it.

Audience members fill out cards before the show, giving their name, song request and why they chose it. Then, a few minutes before the show, the band creates their set list comprised of those requests, and shares the stories during the show.

"People get to tell why it's important to them," he said. "Their stories make up the narrative of the evening."

The theme, he says, is peace, love and understanding.

"It's a tribute to people," he said. "Being happy. We have a really unique story to tell.

"It's all about love. I know that's cheesy, but it's true."

For more information, contact Carrie Pilger pilgerc@hotmail.com.

 

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