Bath school variety show returns with Beatles tribute

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BATH — America may have met the Beatles when they rocked “The Ed Sullivan Show” 50 years ago, but this weekend’s MoHiBa audience may meet the Fab Four in a whole new way.

It’s also an anniversary year for MoHiBa, known also as the Morse High Bazaar, which celebrates its 85th annual performance this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22.

This year’s theme: “Mohibamania,” a nod to the Beatlemania that swept the world in the 1960s.

Kevin O’Leary – a drama and English teacher at Morse, who directs and produces MoHiBa – said he recalled this year being the anniversaries of both the Beatles’ appearance on the Sullivan show, and the band’s release of “A Hard Day’s Night.”

“And I found these four kids, who are a band, and they actually like the Beatles,” O’Leary said: senior Eliot Crewes as John Lennon, junior Gavin Robinson as Paul McCartney, senior Carl Suter as George Harrison and senior Sam Chipman as Ringo Starr.

They play six career-spanning songs, ranging from numbers like Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” from the Beatles’ ability-honing years in Hamburg, Germany, to the pre-breakup release of 1969’s “Abbey Road.”

The band will also sport authentic “Sgt. Pepper” jackets, O’Leary said.

Each act has three songs, but that’s not all MoHiBa offers. While the theme is the Beatles, the show also offers singing and dancing, and the class acts, which include the seniors’ spoof of the “Blues Brothers” film.

O’Leary was 5 years old when the Beatles appeared on Sullivan, and said he can’t remember if he caught the show that night. But a good friend of his was being born in New York City at the same time the band took the stage.

“She was literally being born when the Beatles played the opening notes,” O’Leary said.

One of the oldest school variety shows in the country, MoHiBa dates back to 1927, although it did not adopt the MoHiBa name until two years later, O’Leary has said. The school skipped the event only in 1944, at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the blackouts of World War II.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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This year’s MoHiBa (Morse High Bazaar) in Bath features the Beatles as a theme. This spoof of the band’s 1964 “Meet the Beatles” album spotlights senior Eliot Crewes as John Lennon, senior Carl Suter as George Harrison, junior Gavin Robinson as Paul McCartney, and senior Sam Chipman as Ringo Starr.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.