SAN DIEGO – Jan. 28, 2016 – San Diego audience favorite Hershey Felder (“George Gershwin Alone,” “Monsieur Chopin,” “Beethoven,” “Liszt,” “An American Story,” “Irving Berlin”) returns to San Diego Repertory Theatre in a pre-New York engagement of “Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in MAESTRO.” Fresh from a sold out run of “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” at the La Jolla Playhouse, Felder will now perform this signature work about America’s finest conductor and composer, Leonard Bernstein, which had its premiere in 2011 at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. Directed by Joel Zwick, “MAESTRO” plays a limited engagement from Wednesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 17, 2016. Details for the New York presentation will be announced in April.
Felder returns to San Diego Repertory Theatre where his work was last seen as Adaptor and Director of the critical, popular and award-winning “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” which was presented for two engagements in one season due to popular demand. As is known about Felder’s approach to his works, continual development and illumination is a prime goal, and so “MAESTRO” will now be presented to San Diego audiences after lengthy hit runs in Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Orange County, Florida, Berkeley (Best Solo Show Award, Bay Area) and a worldwide live radio broadcast from Town Hall in New York on the WFMT Radio Network.
Leonard Bernstein’s only son, Alexander says of Hershey Felder; “His performance truly reveals the man, the story and the music of my father, Leonard Bernstein.”
Combining first person narrative and his own music, as well as music that inspired him, “MAESTRO” is a tale spanning the entire 20th century. Leonard Bernstein, one of America’s greatest musicians, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world’s musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star…for Leonard Bernstein, boundaries simply did not exist.
San Diego audiences last saw “MAESTRO” at The Old Globe in 2011. The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote Felder “…hits all the right notes. Hershey Felder’s Bernstein is a pleasure to watch, involving and rich. …He is a masterful pianist with a showman’s sense of drama and dynamics.” The Boston Globe wrote “in his finely wrought portrait, Felder captures Bernstein’s restless energy, his combination of self-confidence and vulnerability, and his flair for drama.” The Chicago Sun-Times raved “you will walk out of the theater realizing you’ve barely breathed for the during of this astonishing musical and theatrical transmigration of souls.”
HERSHEY FELDER (Leonard Bernstein/Playwright) Mr. Felder created and performed “George Gershwin Alone,” which played on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre, in the West End at the Duchess Theatre, and in theatres around the country. His Composers Sonata – “George Gershwin Alone,” “Monsieur Chopin,” “Beethoven, As I Knew Him,” “Maestro Bernstein,” “Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik,” “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” – has been presented at dozens of theatres across the United States and around the world. His compositions and recordings include “Aliyah, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra;” “Fairytale, a musical;” “Les Anges de Paris, Suite for Violin and Piano;” “Song Settings;” “Saltimbanques for Piano and Orchestra;” “Etudes Thematiques for Piano;” and “An American Story for Actor and Orchestra.” As director, he premiered Mona Golabek in “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” at the Geffen Playhouse in 2012 and recently produced and created scenic design for Taylor Hackford’s “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara.” He created Eighty-Eight Entertainment in 2001; its newest division, Hershey Felder Presents, continues in the creation of new works of musical theatre. Current projects include the musical plays “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” as well as the upcoming “Hershey Felder Tchaikovsky” and several musical theatre projects in development. Mr. Felder has been a scholar-in-residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, the first female Prime Minister of Canada.
JOEL ZWICK (Director) Joel Zwick directed “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Mr. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prolific director of episodic television, having the direction of 525 episodes to his credit. These include having directed 21 pilots which have gone on to become regular series. He directed the Broadway production of “George Gershwin Alone.” Previous New York productions have included “Dance With Me” (Tony nomination), “Shenandoah” (Broadway national tour), “Oklahoma” (national tour) and “Cold Storage” (American Place Theater). He directed “Esther” (Promenade Theater, NY), “Merry-Go-Round” (Chicago, Las Vegas), “Last Chance Saloon” and “Woyzeck” (West End, London). Mr. Zwick has taught drama at the Yale School of Drama, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College, and USC. A graduate (B.A., M.A.) of Brooklyn College, he currently directs for the Disney Channel.
Single tickets are now on sale and begin at $60. Student tickets for $20 are also available for all performances. Tickets can be purchased online at www.SDRep.org, by phone at 619-544-1000 or by visiting the box office at 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101.
About “Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in MAESTRO”
Combining first person narrative, and his own music as well as music that inspired him, ‘‘MAESTRO’’ is a tale spanning the entire 20th century. Leonard Bernstein, one of America’s greatest musicians, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world’s musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star…for Leonard Bernstein, boundaries simply did not exist.
“Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in MAESTRO”
Music by Bernstein, Beethoven, Mahler, Wagner, Copeland, and others…
Book By Hershey Felder
Directed by Joel Zwick
Opening Night: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Closing Night: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Hershey Felder as “Leonard Bernstein”
Joel Zwick, Director
Francois Pierre Couture, Hershey Felder, Scenic Designer
Christopher Ash, Lighting/Projection Designer
Trevor Hay, Associate Direction
Erik Carstensen, Producer, Sound Designer
Produced by Samantha F. Voxakis and Karen Racanell