Hershey Felder, a uniquely gifted actor, pianist, composer, producer, director and storyteller, has the musical ability few others can attain. He can become great composers of the past, creating the stories and music for the world to enjoy once again. In his original performances, he can conjure the likes of Beethoven and Bernstein, Chopin and Liszt, Gershwin and Tchaikovsky. Through exhaustive research, he emerges as the composer in question, laying the foundation from childhood on, until his music explodes on the stage with his virtuoso piano renditions.
This time around Hershey Felder has set his sights on a poor immigrant boy who grew up to become one of the most honored and respected composers of the twentieth century. Born Israel Bellin in Imperial Russia, he came to this country at the age of five. He sold his first song for 33 cents,”Marie from Sunny Italy,” and only six years later penned one of his greatest hits “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” He would go on to become part of the Great American Songbook, composing hundreds of memorable tunes.
Through Sunday, June 30, Hershey Felder will become Irving Berlin and capture him in immortal words and chords at the Hartford Stage. The width and breathe of his works include such hits as “White Christmas,” “Easter Parade,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “God Bless America.” As a spunky kid, Berlin would earn pennies to help his family, with a lofty goal of one day becoming a singing waiter in a saloon. Tin Pan Alley and Broadway became his proving ground with Vaudeville as his first stage.
Hershey Felder will take the audience on a remarkable musical journey, highlighting Berlin’s humble beginnings and incredible successes. You will feel like you are in Irving Berlin’s company, learning intimate details of his one hundred and one years. Musical history comes to glorious life as Felder becomes Berlin, sharing his life, his hopes, his dreams. As directed by Trevor Hay, this production will surely fill your heart with the joy of Irving Berlin, thanks to the powerful portrayal by Hershey Felder.
Come meet Irving Berlin, of blessed memory, as Hershey Felder brings him to incredible triumph at the Hartford Stage.
For tickets ($18-90), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151or visit www.ticketing.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.