Rich Morello was about to get his big break.
Beatlemania, the Broadway musical revue, needed a new Ringo Starr, and Morello was in line for the part.
Before he ever took the stage, though, the show shut down.
That could have marked the end of Morello's dream. But when "Beatlemania" ended, Morello and Alan LeBoeuf, who played Paul McCartney for much of the show's run, resurfaced in "Beatlemania Again," a touring Beatles stage show that stops at the Linda - WAMC Performing Arts Studio in Albany on Saturday, Jan. 17.
Morello is the group's manager, and he also plays the drums as Starr.
"It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun," he said. "It's a labor of love."
Part of Morello's work includes finding venues for New Jersey-based "Beatlemania Again" to perform. The group has never been to Albany, so Morello called Howard Glassman, the Linda's manager, and made his pitch.
Glassman was intrigued. The Linda has hosted Elvis tribute bands and The Clash tribute band, he said, but it's never had a Beatles show. He checked out "Beatlemania Again's" promotional material and told Morello he had a deal.
"Everybody loves the Beatles," Glassman said.
That love of the Beatles is what fuels Morello and his castmates. Morello was just a baby when the Beatles stopped touring, so he never saw them live. But he and the other members of "Beatlemania Again" have watched hours upon hours of video of Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, closely studying everything from the band's accents to their footwear.
"All the idiosyncrasies, we try to capture," Morello said.
That attention to detail differentiates the group from Beatles cover bands that simply play the group's songs, he said.
Shows are broken into three acts. The first act, "Meet the Beatles," features actual instruments and amplifiers used by The Beatles, and the cast wears the group's signature boots and black velvet suits. The songs in the first act are from 1963 to 1966.