|L-R: Tommy Crawford and Christopher Sears in ONLY YESTERDAY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.|
When their tour was temporarily stalled by a hurricane in Florida, however, they were forced to put everything on hold for a day or two, making an unscheduled stop in Key West before continuing on to Jacksonville. And so it was that John Lennon and Paul McCartney, both in their early 20’s, found themselves holed up together for the night in a cheap hotel room in Key West with little to do but drink and talk. Which is just what they did. Until they also cried.
Or at least that’s pretty much what Paul said happened when he was interviewed more than four decades later. It was on a radio broadcast in 2011 that he recalled that night in 1964 when he and John drank, talked and cried together for reasons he could no longer be certain of but which he thought probably related to the deaths of both of their mothers when they were in their early teens - and the emotional toll it took on them.
This was really all that the playwright Bob Stevens had to go on when he wrote Only Yesterday, a slight but charming one act play, currently enjoying its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters on East 59th Street in midtown Manhattan. In Only Yesterday, we are treated to Stevens’ imagining of what might have transpired on that night in 1964 as John Lennon (Christopher Sears) and Paul McCartney (Tommy Crawford) not only drank and talked – and, yes, cried – but also engaged in good humored horseplay from Monopoly to pillow-fighting, jammed on their guitars, half-heartedly attempted to write some songs, and even delivered a blow for integration by refusing to perform before a segregated audience in Jacksonville.
Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, the show is light on the Beatles’ own music but it does include tunes by Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry - and remarkably entertaining impersonations of Bob Dylan (by Crawford) and of Elvis Presley (by Sears). Indeed, the Presley impersonation was a real show-stopper and, if nothing else, it alone is sure to leave you smiling for days to come.