The Record Breaking Smash Hit “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” Returns to Chicago April 7
Continuing to break all box office records during its National Tour, the smash hit Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin is returning to Chicago for a limited, four-week engagement starting Thursday, April 7, 2016 in Felder’s Chicago theatrical home, the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted Street, Chicago. The show will run through Sunday, May 8, 2016 with a press opening on Sunday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m. The Chicago presentation will immediately be followed by a special One-Night-Only New York Presentation at The Town Hall on June 6, 2016, broadcast internationally by the WFMT Radio Network with the entire Berlin family in attendance.
Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin has previously played to rave reviews and broken box office records at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse, Chicago’s Royal George Theatre, the La Jolla Playhouse and Boston’s Majestic Theatre among others. Future engagements are planned throughout the United States and abroad. David C. Nichols of The Los Angeles Times wrote “that indefatigable purveyor of composers, Hershey Felder, applies his singular blend of musical biography, character study and piano virtuosity toward the iconic songwriter. The empathy, showmanship and craft on tap may just be the best match of historical figure and performing artist yet.” Chris Jones writing in The Chicago Tribune raved “Felder is the impresario whose relationship with audiences is long-standing, intimate and mutually adoring. Felder does his good guy proud.”
Jerome Kern famously said, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music.” George Gershwin called him “the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.” Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin brings the man behind the iconic music to life in an evening reflecting his remarkable journey from child immigrant to America’s most beloved and prolific songwriter. From Tin Pan Alley to Carnegie Hall, from The Great White Way to The Silver Screen, and from the pop charts to the steps of the nation’s capital, Berlin’s music provided America with the soundtrack of a century. Berlin’s catalogue includes over 1,500 songs, 18 Broadway shows, 16 feature films, 232 top 10 hits and 10 #1 hits. The songs have been performed by a diverse list of artists including: Fred Astaire, Aretha Franklin, Ethel Merman, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Luciano Pavarotti, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Barbra Streisand, Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, and Lady Gaga. The evening features some of the composer’s most popular and enduring songs including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “God Bless America,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “White Christmas.”
“I am thrilled to return to Chicago,” says Felder- “to perform the role of IRVING BERLIN on the same stage and in the city I call my theatrical home. To be able to create the character of Irving Berlin- America’s most beloved composer, in a time when there is so much in question about the future of this magnificent country is an honor. The life and art of Irving Berlin is a musical story that reminds us all of this incredible country, and the remarkable people who built it.”
Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin features a scenic design by Felder, lighting design by Richard Norwood, projection design by Christopher Ash and Lawrence Siefert, and sound design/production management by Erik Carstensen. The show is produced by Eva Price, Samantha F. Voxakis and Karen Racanelli.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Hershey Felder (Irving Berlin/ Playwright/ Scenic Design). Writing in American Theatre, Hedy Weiss said, “Hershey Felder is in a category all his own.” Over the past 20 years, he has played over 4,500 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres and has consistently broken box office records. His shows include: George Gershwin Alone (Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, West End’s Duchess Theatre); Monsieur Chopin; Beethoven; Maestro (Leonard Bernstein); Franz Liszt in Musik and Lincoln: An American Story. In addition, he performs concerts of “The Great American Song Book Singalong” at every theatre where his shows are presented. Future productions include Tchaikovsky (January 2017 premiere at the San Diego Rep) and the new musical, Chosen By God for which he is writing music, book and lyrics. His compositions and recordings include Allyah, 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. Hershey is the adaptor, director and designer for the very successful play with music, The Pianist of Willesden Lane and for the new musical Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford, he is the producer and designer. Hershey has operated a full service production company since 2001. He 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.
TREVOR HAY (Director) directed the world premieres of An American Story For Actor and Orchestra, Abe Lincoln’s Piano and Hershey Felder As Franz Liszt in Musik. He is Associate Director for Mona Golabek’sThe Pianist of Willesden Lane. Former member of the historic Old Globe Theatre in San Diego where, at the age of nine, his first position was selling Old Globe memorabilia. Over the next 32 years, Mr. Hay went on to various aspects of production on more than 80 presentations, including the Broadway productions of Jack O’Brien’s Damn Yankees, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Twyla Tharpe’s The Times They Are A-Changin’. Included in his 23 seasons at the Old Globe were eleven seasons of the Summer Shakespeare Festival Repertory, as well work on Tracy Letts‘ August: Osage County, directed by Sam Gold, and Hershey Felder‘s George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin and Maestro Bernstein.
Performances of Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin begin Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. and continue as follows: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
STRICTLY LIMITED ENGAGEMENT THROUGH SUNDAY, MAY 8. All tickets are $60. Tickets will be on sale at The Royal George Theatre and may be purchased by calling 312.988.9000. Box office hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE.