Goodman Theatre Announces HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN Streamed Live From Italy May 10

In light of canceled performance engagements due to COVID-19, internationally-acclaimed artist Hershey Felder brings his singular performance style directly to audiences’ homes. Live streaming from Florence, Italy, on Mother’s Day, Felder will perform a new version of his beloved production Irving Berlin—including timely new additions that speak to the current moment. The performance is viewable on internet-enabled home and handheld devices and features an audience participation opportunity via text or email. Trevor Hay directs.

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin will be performed and streamed live on Sunday, May 10, at 7pm (Chicago). Tickets are $50 per household, with proceeds benefitting Goodman Theatre artists and staff; purchase at GoodmanTheatre.org/IrvingBerlin. Please note: the Goodman intends to reschedule its previously-announced presentation of the Chicago premiere of A Paris Love Story, Felder’s tour de force tribute to the life and music of Impressionist composer Claude Debussy, directed by Hay; new dates TBA. The box office will be reaching out to current ticket holders to discuss ticketing options, including an exchange for the virtual stream of Irving Berlin or a Goodman credit or refund. Patrons can also call the box office at 312.443.3800. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 12noon – 3pm.

“While we regret that current circumstances prevent us from hosting Hershey Felder in his Goodman debut with A Paris Love Story, we’re thrilled to offer our audiences this inventive viewing of Irving Berlin,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Hershey is an artist of remarkable range and talent whom Chicago has long loved; his passion for music, and for those who have transformed music, is evident in each and every piece of his body of work.”

“Irving Berlin comes to us during these troubled times, relating both the good and the hard times that he and America have weathered before—and how the nation always managed to pull through because of the goodness of its people. We hope the world will do so once again,” said Hershey Felder, an “exquisite singer and a virtuosic pianist” (The New Yorker) who has been hailed as a “chameleon of musical characters” (Los Angeles Times) and an “impresario whose relationship with audiences is long-standing, intimate and mutually adoring” (Chicago Tribune).

Fleeing the anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia, capturing the rhythms of the Lower East Side, and eventually enchanting the entire world, Irving Berlin epitomized the American dream. Featuring some of Berlin’s most popular and enduring songs—from “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Blue Skies,” to “White Christmas” and beyond—Felder’s signature creation of character and musical performance weaves a narrative around Berlin’s 101 year lifespan, including his long and heartening relationship with his wife, battles against anti-Semitism and, of course, his storied music.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Hershey Felder (Irving Berlin/Playwright), named to Time Magazine’s 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals, has played more than 5,000 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theaters 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 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 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. 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, Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik, A Paris Love Story, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. He is Associate Director for Mona Golabek’s The 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 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 Letts’ August: Osage County, directed by Sam Gold, and Hershey Felder’s George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin and Maestro Bernstein.

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 Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David 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.