Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro

Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro

Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro

Book by Hershey Felder
Music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and others
Directed by Joel Zwick
Special Presentation · Thrust Stage
June 5–July 3, 2014

Running time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, no intermission

Last summer, Hershey Felder brought Bay Area audiences to their feet and even got them singing with George Gershwin Alone. Now the master entertainer and virtuoso pianist is back with his popular and critically acclaimed Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro, in which he brings one of America’s greatest musical legends to life. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star, and composer of West Side Story, Candide, On the Town, and Wonderful Town, Bernstein pushed all boundaries to become the world’s first serious musical media superstar. Felder combines first-person narrative with the compositions of Bernstein and others to draw us deeply into the maestro’s fascinating life, a life filled with tragedy and triumph…and music.

Creative team

Hershey Felder · Playwright
Joel Zwick · Director
Trevor Hay · Associate Director
François-Pierre Couture · Scenic Design / Lighting Co-Design / Projection Co-Design
Christopher Rynne · Lighting Co-Design
Andrew Wilder · Projection Co-Design
Margaret Hartmann · Lighting Director
Erik Carstensen · Sound Design / Production Manager
Jeffrey Kallberg · Musical History Production Consultant

Performer

Hershey Felder

“Plaintively framed by the song “Somewhere,” Maestro is a portrait of the successful artist who regards himself as a failure…[Felder] picks up the rhythms and inflections of a somewhat older Bernstein so smoothly that he has the audience in the palm of his hand…[and] keeps us there with a blend of biography, humor, piano virtuosity, pathos and musical appreciation…There are rich, deftly performed and resonant passages of great music—by Bernstein, Beethoven, Wagner, Copland, Grieg and more…Delightful.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“A tour de force that fuses speech, song and pianistic brilliance into a captivating vignette of one of the towering figures of 20th century American music…It’s also hilarious at times, and awe-inspiring in Felder’s unfolding of a compelling narrative while hitting every note of a varied, complex and difficult score.”—Huffington Post

“Hershey Felder’s astonishing talents as a musician, actor, and writer are uniquely combined in capturing so much of the essence of my father, Leonard Bernstein. His performance, rather than being an attempted imitation, truly reveals the man, his story, and his music.”—Alex Bernstein

“Felder orchestrated a similar homage to musical genius in George Gershwin Alone last year. Now he returns to Berkeley Repertory Theatre with another charmer that tickles the ivories and the funny bone. While this piece shares many characteristics with that breezy Gershwin monologue, there’s far more dramatic heft to this one-man show…Felder crystallizes the watershed moments in the maestro’s life with poetry and sensitivity. Certainly the songs, particularly the selections from “West Side Story,” are as magical as ever.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

“Felder reaches new depths of writing, acting and musical talents in Maestro. He displays an uncanny ability to capture Bernstein’s mercurial personality, melodious voice, scornful expression and fluid body movements, all while playing Bernstein’s own compositions as well as his favorite composers’ piano pieces.”—Berkeleyside