Gary James' Interview With
Paul McCartney Look-a-like
Tony Kishman portrays Paul McCartney every night at The Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. The Beatles, as re-created in the Legends In Concert segment, are helping attract S.R.O. crowds to the show every night. What is it like to play Paul McCartney on stage? We'll let Tony Kishman tell you.
Q - Attorneys for The Beatles have just won a ten million dollar judgement against the Beatlemania show, claiming it was a violation of the rights of publicity of the group. They stated you could use a "limited illustration of the group" to show the public what it was like, but "an entire evening of theatre devoted to The Beatles is too much." How has that ruling affected the Legends In Concert show?
A - Fortunately for Legends, it's an entire evening of many different legends and The Beatles are on stage for approximately nine minutes. So I would say legally it's a safe re-creation of The Beatles portion. The concept of Legends is many different legends of yesterday. It's really nice. Our portion shows a small piece of The Beatles and how they were a legend in the times.
Q - So, how many songs do you perform every night?
A - Well, we only do about six songs and it's not even an entire song. What we try to do is an early song, a later song. It's pretty much the early period. It's like a short little medley showing the Ed Sullivan performances. We do stick a song on that wasn't on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Q - Name the songs that you perform.
A - We do "She Loves You", "I Saw Her Standing There", "A Hard Day's Night", "All My Lovin'", "Got To Get You Into My Life" and "Twist And Shout".
Q - Two years ago (1984), there was only a John Lennon segment in the Legends show. When did the producer decide to go with the whole group?
A - It's been about two months since we've been here. I don't know when his decision was, but we came in at that time.
Q - What made the producer of Legends think of you for the McCartney role?
A - He saw us perform before and knew we were in the Beatlemania production and that we had a few credits in doing this kind of thing. I think he felt comfortable with our performance.
Q - Did you ever meet any of The Beatles?
A - I never did. I came close to meeting one of them, but I never really did.
Q - When you appeared in Beatlemania, you were sent to "Beatles school." What was that like?
A - That's just a term for long rehearsals of learning Beatle material. That was conducted at S.I.R. where we just went in there, like an eight hour day. We worked on watching their films of what they looked like, moved like, how they stood, what they said to the audience, doing exactly what they did. That's why we called it "Beatle school."
Q - Are you surprised that there is this continuing interest in The Beatles?
A - Yeah. That has always been very strange for me because they haven't made a record for seventeen years and here's four guys that aren't them and the audience is still just thrilled about it. It is pretty weird. I would never have guessed it when I was a kid, or a teenager growing up, that I was going to be able to get up and perform as Paul McCartney and convince an audience that they were going to see Paul McCartney. It's very strange.