Ex-Beatle Pete Best to make acting debut in mystery about John Lennon's missing banjo

Pete Best, the Beatles' drummer before Ringo Starr, will make his acting debut this spring in three performances of a new stage play that involves a historic part of the early pre-Beatles life of John Lennon. The play, titled "Lennon's Banjo," is adapted from the novel "Julia's Banjo" by Rob Fennah and Helen A. Jones. The book, set in present-day Liverpool, concerns the search for the missing banjo, the first instrument Lennon learned to play. In the novel, a Liverpool Beatles tour guide finds a letter written by Lennon that contains a clue to the whereabouts of the instrument, now a much-desired piece of Beatles memorabilia that is believed to be worth millions of dollars. The novel, "Julia's Banjo," is available in paperback and e-book form.

The play will premiere at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool April 24 and run through May 5. Best's three performances will take place on two separate dates, April 25 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. and May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Other actors in the play are Eric Potts, Jake Abraham, Stephanie Dooley, Mark Moraghan, Lynn Francis and Roy Carruthers

"I read the novel 'Julia's Banjo' some years ago and thought it was a great mix of fact and fiction with regards to the Beatles and the elusive banjo. It made me smile; a really enjoyable read,” Best said. “So, when speaking to Rob Fennah about the book becoming a stage play, I said in passing, 'I should play me!' And lo and behold, here I am doing a few of the performances." Fennah said he was “gobsmacked” that Best will be in some of the performances. “Having a real life Beatle up there on stage is going to be a fantastic buzz,” he commented.