An Ode to a Broadway Actor
Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles
An Interview with Steve Landes
Performing and working on Broadway is the dream of so many. Whether they want to be an actor, a musician performing in the orchestra or a stage hand – the dream is there. We’ve heard from a Broadway artist and musician, and now it’s time for an actor!
You all know how I felt about Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles. A glorified cover band, I told myself – ha! Long story short, I loved it and the actors? So amazing. Like the original four were standing right in front of us. Steve Landes, who plays John Lennon, took time out of his busy schedule to share his wisdom, his experience on Broadway and let us ye olde actors live vicariously through him!
I’m Steve Landes, I’m a singer, songwriter, and musician (and occasional actor, if the gig calls for it!). I’m originally from Philadelphia, but now live in Los Angeles. I’m from the original Broadway cast of “RAIN”, now playing at The Brooks Atkinson Theater, and I portray John Lennon.
What or who got you started in music?
My Dad played a bit of guitar around the house when I was little, and both of my parents had been Beatles fans, so I got The Beatles, and music in general, handed down from them. They also used to listen to the oldies station on the radio, so I had a lot of Fifties/Sixties music around me growing up. I started to sing at some point early on, so they got me training, and I just never stopped. My Dad taught me guitar chords, and they bought me my first guitar as a 10th birthday present.
Who are your musical influences?
The Beatles, of course, are my biggest influence, as they are probably for most everyone in music, either directly or indirectly. After that, I still love the oldies; Elvis, Everly Brothers, etc. I love soul classics like Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and Smokey Robinson. New Zealand singer/songwriter Neil Finn is probably my biggest musical hero as well.
I love New Zealand musicians, and Sam Cooke is fabulous. How about your original music, what is your style?
I would say my style is kind of the same, singer/songwriter-y, with a flair for the blue-eyed soul, ’cause that’s the natural sound of my singing voice. I love to sing!! I love a ‘classic’ band sound — two guitars-bass-drums, with maybe a bit of piano or so, even better when one of the guitars is a nice acoustic, so I guess the band sound I make is one with those instruments, with the soulful voice on top; so quite a mixture I guess, but it all works out!
Tell us about your first night on Broadway.
Exciting, of course!! We’d been doing the show around the world for about five years up to that point, just touring around, with Broadway as a goal. So when it finally happened, it was a bit of a relief – finally reaching the pinnacle after all this time! Also, a relief because I had this fear that I’d get sick, or break an arm or something, before the opening, and they’d have to go on without me, and I’d miss out on the Broadway debut! But all was well.
What’s your favorite Beatles song?
That’s got to be impossible to say; for one thing, they’re all the greatest – each and every song was the best. Plus, my personal favorites to sing or play, or listen to, change from day to day. I always do seem to favor the early era, though — 1963-64, those first two albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles, — that’s where I seem to lean.
How do you handle mistakes during a show?
The show must go on, so you have to continue, whether it’s a small thing like a flubbed lyric, or something bigger, like a tech problem, like a video that won’t start, or something like that. Luckily, the show for the most part relies on the band, and we’re pretty solid, so there hasn’t been anything too difficult to deal with. And if something happens musically, a little flub here or there, wrong guitar chord, or mixed-up verses, I tell myself, “Well, at least the audience knows now that we’re not lip-syncing!”.
What can we expect next from Steve Landes?
Continuing with the RAIN show, wherever that takes me, and also I’m in the midst or writing and recording my own music; hopefully I can get an album out at some point in the near future. I’m online everywhere – my website, my Facebook page, my Twitter page, so I talk to the fans a lot, and once I get my music out I’ll be letting everyone know by way of those sites.
Well there you have it ladies and gentleman, the funny and very talented Steve Landes!
You can also find him on Twitter (@SteveLandes), on Facebook here, and his website.
- Ashley, June 2011