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 5–22, 2014
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.
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Hershey Felder · Writer / Performer
Hershey Felder’s Composers Sonata—George Gershwin Alone; Monsieur Chopin; Beethoven, As I Knew Him; Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro; Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Rock Star—has been presented at dozens of theatres across the U.S. and around the world, including a command performance of Monsieur Chopin for the Polish Ambassador to the United States.
(Photo by Michael Lamont)
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 directors 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).
“It takes a certain chutzpah and considerable talent to impersonate this uniquely charismatic and supremely talented Bernstein. And Lenny liked nothing better than chutzpah combined with talent. Somewhere, he is looking down on this show no doubt bitching like crazy yet deeply touched that we still, 20 years after his death, care.”—LA Times
“Like Bernstein, Felder seems to thrive on the impulse to instruct and illuminate. He’s a masterful pianist with a showman’s sense of drama and dynamics…It’s a pleasure to watch.”—San Diego Union-Tribune
“From the first piano notes and hauntingly beautiful singing in his one-man bio show, writer-performer Hershey Felder grips the audience in the palm of his hand and never lets go. Beginning by analyzing one of the most famous melodies of West Side Story, ‘Somewhere,’ Felder points out the tritone and minor sevenths in a brief, fascinating tutorial on how that composition was created. He then crawls inside Bernstein’s skin, as well as adopting various other personae, taking us through the legendary conductor-composer’s eventful life…This is a captivating performance of a fascinating life, vividly and emotionally related.”—LA Weekly