Goodman Theatre Announces Chicago Premiere of HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE A STORY

Artistic Director Robert Falls announced today that acclaimed artist Hershey Felder will present the Chicago premiere of A Paris Love Story, his tour de force tribute to the life and music of Impressionist composer Claude Debussy, at the Goodman this spring. An “exquisite singer and a virtuosic pianist” (The New Yorker), Felder has been hailed as a “chameleon of musical characters” (Los Angeles Times) who “creates shows with artistic care and factual integrity” (Chicago Tribune). A Paris Love Story is part of Felder’s “Great Composer Series,” for which he has earned worldwide acclaim portraying classical music titans Irving Berlin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and more. Directed by Trevor Hay, Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story appears June 11 – July 5 in the Goodman’s 350-seat Owen Theatre. Tickets ($15-$60; subject to change) go on sale March 27 and are available at GoodmanTheatre.org, or by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Discounted tickets are available now for Groups of 10+ and through Choice and Whenever Membership packages.

We are proud to host Hershey Felder, a world-class artist that Chicago has long loved, in his Goodman debut with A Paris Love Story,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “An artist of remarkable range and talent, Hershey’s passion for music, and for those who have transformed music, is evident in each piece of his ‘Great Composer Series’—and especially so in this powerful, moving ode to the life and work of Claude Debussy.”

Added Hershey Felder, “What Bob and the Goodman have created is the benchmark for the very best of theater in North America. It is an honor to bring this very personal story about a love for Paris and the music of the great French composer Claude Debussy to this stage for audiences of Chicago—a city that has been an artistic home for sixteen years.”

From the sweeping “La Mer” to the evocative “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” and the mystical “Clair de lune,” Felder’s tribute to the visionary Debussy “transports one to a world of dreams” (Broadway World). Considered one of the first Impressionist composers, Debussy had a great influence on composition of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At 10, his musical talent gained him admission to the renowned Conservatoire de Paris, but it wasn’t until nearly the age of 40 that he received international recognition for his work. The eighth composer in Felder’s “Great Composer Series,” Debussy’s rich life is made all the more vivid in this poignant piece of art.

Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story features scenic design by Felder, lighting and projection design by Christopher Ash, sound design and production management by Erik Carstensen, costume design by Stacey Nezda, wig and hair design by Anastasia Pautova, historical and biographical research by Meghan Maiya. The M.A. Assistant lighting designer is Erik Barry, the assistant video designer is Brian McMullen and additional movement is by Diego FunesLouisa Pancoast is assistant to Mr. Funes. Joel Zwick is the consulting producer.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Hershey Felder (Claude Debussy/The Boy/Playwright) has played more than 5,000 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. 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, Lincoln: An American Story, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, Our Great Tchaikovsky, and A Paris Love Story. His compositions and recordings include Aliyah, Concerto for Piano and OrchestraFairytale, 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. Felder is the adaptor, director and designer for the internationally performed play-with-music The Pianist of Willesden Lane with Steinway artist Mona Golabek; producer and designer for the musical Louis and Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford; and writer and director for Flying Solo, featuring opera legend Nathan Gunn. Upcoming projects include Anna and Sergei, a new play featuring the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff; as well as a new musical based on the award-winning book Out on a Ledge by Eva Libitzky. Felder has operated a full-service production company since 2001 and has been a scholar-in-residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music. He 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 OrchestraAbe Lincoln’s PianoHershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. He is Associate Director for Mona Golabek’s The Pianist of Willesden Lane. He is a 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. Hay has been involved in aspects of production on more than 80 presentations, including Broadway productions of Jack O’Brien’s Damn Yankees, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Twyla Tharp’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 as work on Tracy Lett’s August: Osage County, directed by Sam Gold, and Hershey Felder’s George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin and Maestro Bernstein.

JOEL ZWICK (Consulting Producer) directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include Fat Albert and Elvis Has Left the Building. Zwick directed the Broadway production of George Gershwin Alone at the Helen Hayes Theatre. He began his theatrical career at La Mama E.T.C., as director of the La Mama Plexus. He has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Broadway touring companies. He and Hershey Felder have collaborated on Monsieur ChopinBeethoven As I Knew Him and Maestro. Currently, Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prolific directors of episodic television, having the direction of over 650 episodes to his credit. New York productions have included Dance with Me (Tony nomination), Shenandoah (Broadway national tour), Oklahoma (national tour) and Cold Storage (American Place Theater). He acted in the original New York production of MacBird. He directed Esther (Promenade Theater, NY), Merry-Go-Round (Chicago and Las Vegas), Last Chance Saloon and Woycek (West End). Zwick has taught drama at Yale University, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College, and the University of Southern California. He is a graduate (B.A., M.A.) of Brooklyn College.

ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE

Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fourth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Using the tools of the theatrical profession, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered free of charge for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian DennehyRebecca GilmanHenry GodinezDael Orlandersmith, Steve ScottKimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary ZimmermanDavid W. Fox, Jr. is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.