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Interactive Beatles Show Gets Personal
Friday, March 31, 2023


Billy McGuigan and his brothers started a Beatles show as a tribute not to the Fab Four but to their father, who loved everything there was about the British band.

In the process, they discovered the heart and soul of what the Beatles mean to people.

“People have really unique and personal reasons for liking a certain song. I’ve heard thousands of them, and that’s what makes this show cool because it gets at the heart of The Beatles’ persona, their music and the message behind their music and what it means to people,” said McGuigan.

McGuigan, his brothers and a guitar player and drummer will present “Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience” at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at The Argyros. Tickets are $10 and $20, available at

McGuigan and his brothers Matthew and Ryan McGuigan don’t don mop tops or Beatles garb. Instead, they have the audience fill out cards stating their favorite Beatles song and the reason it’s their favorite  before the show.

Two minutes before the show begins, they create a set list based upon those songs, pulling from their repertoire of 220 Beatles songs and 70 solo songs. They then share the reasons audience members chose their songs before playing them.

“It keeps the show fresh for us because no two shows are ever alike and every show is interactive,” said McGuigan. “And over the course of the evening we’re reminded that The Beatles music is truly the soundtrack to our lives.”

The McGuigan brothers created their show in 2007 as a tribute to their father William McGuigan, who had passed away from leukemia nine years earlier.

Their father owned every Beatles album there was, even creating a Beatles room filled with Beatles posters in their Largo, Fla., home. And he shared that love with his sons, teaching them how to play the Beatles music with an out-of-tune guitar and tattered Beatle chord books.

“Instead of a TV, he had that guitar. He had pictures of the Beatles next to family pictures and praised them like they were our uncles,” McGuigan said. “If you take all the other cool things about them away, their music is just really good because it was influenced by every genre--country, rock, rhythm and blues,  white music, black music, Indian music. They were like a sponge, and Paul McCartney’s lyrics were so  personal.”

McGuigan said he initially planned to share just the funny stories when they started the show. But after they’d done three or four shows, he got a request that hit him between the eyes. The request said: “I was 18 years old and my best friend was killed in a car accident in 1968. And all us kids ages 16 to 13 held hands around our friend’s grave and sang, ‘Hey Jude,’ which was a huge hit that year.”

“We played that song and we could see the connection it made,” he recounted. 

This is the 16th year, McGuigan and his brothers have toured the show. “Yesterday and Today” earned them the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award and Billy McGuigan, the Midland Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award. Those awards take up shelf space in McGuigan’s Omaha, Neb., home with the Spotlight Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Buddy Holly in “Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story.”

“When we first started the show, it was hard to get any dates because 20 other Beatles tribute shows were touring the country. We were the only ones who didn’t dress up as the Beatles but the only ones taking a full evening worth of requests, and that kept us going,” he said. “It’s been interesting to see the other groups go by wayside, while we’re still out there performing. And it doesn’t hurt that they keep re-releasing the Beatles’ music, which keeps it fresh.”

McGuigan himself has seen Paul McCartney 13 times.

“I know that feeling when you get to hold hands with the stranger next to you and sing ‘Hey, Jude.’ And the fact that I get to see our audiences hold hands just like that shows how special their music is.”



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