It’s the Beatles! (Well, almost.) Interactive experience coming Sunday to Bulber Auditorium

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, March 7, 2024

By Mary Richardson

Lake Charles people will “own the Beatles” this Sunday, according to Brook Hanemann, Director of the McNeese Banners Series. “Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience” will be performed on the Bulber Auditorium stage at McNeese State University this Sunday at 7 p.m.

“The show will be created just for our audience,” Hanemann explained, “as people will fill out request cards for their favorite Beatles song when they come in. Then, two minutes before the show begins, a set list will be created from those cards.”

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“Yesterday and Today” is the nation’s most innovative and unique show that utilizes the works of the Beatles, Hanemann says, “and we are so lucky they were able to add Lake Charles to their current tour.”

Tickets are $20 and are part of a Banners Series membership. They will also be sold at the door and on line at Due to the generosity of long-time Banners sponsor Reed Mendelson Jr., free tickets will be given to all educators, including academic staff and administrators, as well as to all first responders, all military personnel, and all veterans. Tickets to these groups of people will be given at the door. All McNeese and Sowela students will be admitted free with I.D.

Every performance of “Yesterday and Today” is different, because the playlist depends on what the audience writes on the request cards. Audience members only need to fill out three things: their name, their favorite Beatles song, and the reason they chose that song. The stories about why a person chose a particular song will make up the narrative of the evening.

There are so many songs to choose from. The most popular Beatles tunes are “Let It Be,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Hey Jude,” “Come Together,” and “Blackbird.” Then there’s “Twist and Shout,” “Yellow Submarine,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Help!,” “Something,” “Revolution,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “In My Life,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Yesterday.” “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” and “Birthday” are surprisingly popular. The #1 album is “Abbey Road” by far.

The band, anchored by brothers Billy, Matthew and Ryan McGuigan, know all of these songs.  They learned them because of a personal tragedy in their family. The McGuigan brothers were just 21, 18 and 15 years old in 1996 when their father, William (Bill) McGuigan, passed away, after a difficult, but courageous, battle with Leukemia.

Their father owned every Beatles album there was, even the obscure ones. However, according to the brothers, the McGuigans were quite poor. So, rather than going out to entertain the young children, their father stayed home and shared his love of the Beatles’ catalogue with his boys. None of them knew at the time that these shared moments and songs would turn out to be the greatest gift a father could pass on to his children.

“Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience” was born out of the idea that everyone, like the McGuigan brothers, has a story or particular memory attached to the legendary music of The Beatles. The brothers say that performing this music is ultimate tribute to their father, the greatest man they’ve ever known, and that they are privileged to sing in honor of other people’s memories.

Hanemann expects that some of the stories written on the cards will be quite funny. Other stories might reflect bad times in people’s lives and tell how the Beatles music got them through it. She personally is planning on requesting “Twist and Shout,” dedicating it to a friend who has advanced Alzheimer’s. “She can’t remember much about her life anymore,” Hanemann said. “She’s lost her ability to do basic things, like how to eat with a fork. But she knows every single word to “Twist and Shout.” She can sing it, and she can dance to it.”

Hanemann thinks that many people have stories similar to hers. “This Interactive Beatles Experience proves that The Beatles music truly is the soundtrack to our lives,” she says, “so come and join us and let us celebrate our lives and the lives of our loved ones with this great music.”