Sugary hits from John Lennon, Paul McCartney and the rest of their English brethren will feed Middletown via Premier Centre for the Arts' Beatles Café this Friday and Saturday.
The musical review will highlight tunes from the legendary Beatles sung by a youthful PCA cast, accompanied by PCA instructors who'll play alongside the jubilant performers.
New PCA piano instructor Hana Cai, 24, of Elkton, Md., took the time to chat about the songs she'll tackle in Beatles Café, the new impression The Beatles have left on her, and a bit more.
Q What are some of the songs you'll play in the show?
A I'll be playing "Eight Days a Week," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "Hello Goodbye," "Good Day Sunshine," "Long and Winding Road" and "When I'm Sixty-Four".
Q Of those songs, is there a favorite you like to play?
A I really like "Penny Lane" because I like the song a lot. I really like playing "Good Day Sunshine". There's a little solo-y [part] in the song and it makes me feel like a star [laughs].
Q Since The Beatles' musical arrangements weren't always straightforward, which song is most challenging for you to play?
A I would say "Good Day Sunshine" is also probably the most challenging, because the rhythm is not straight, especially during the chorus. It's not a straight rhythm necessarily; it's sort of a mixed meter.
Q How do you combat that?
A I'm feeling the rhythm more than counting it, instead of saying: one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three-four — which is how I often count.
Q What has your experience been like working with the cast?
A It's cool. When I lived in the College Park, Md., area I would work a lot with high schoolers as well. But I guess I didn't really perform alongside with them in the same I'm way I'm doing here: it was always sort of directing them and that sort of thing. But it's really neat to be able to work alongside the students.
Q What have you learned now that you're working alongside the PCA cast, as opposed to when you were mostly directing students in College Park?
A I think it's less teaching, because before it was me trying to get them to see my artistic vision, I suppose. And now being a pianist backing up these student-singers, it's like I want to be able to support them as best as I can, as opposed to being like, "It's my show and you're just executing it, kind of." Not that I really was like that [laughs], but it's just one way to think about it.
Page 2 of 2 - Q Since you've been playing The Beatles' music, is there a newfound appreciation you have for them now?
A I will say a couple of things about that: first, I do have a great appreciation for their growth in their development as a band. I feel like they sort of came from average folks and became really great musicians as they went on. During this rehearsal process I think I heard a lot of songs that I always knew, but I never realized they were Beatles songs. I was also impressed by the diversity of their songs, stylistically. Some of their songs were country, and some of them are more rock sounding and very unique.
IF YOU GO
WHAT Beatles Café
WHEN 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10
WHERE Premier Centre for the Arts, 27 Anderson St., Middletown
INFO pcade.com or 378-1384