Hershey Felder and Eighty-Eight Entertainment present the Midwest Premiere of Our Great Tchaikovsky, a new play-with-music featuring the compositions of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with a book and performance by Hershey Felder, following a critically acclaimed world premiere in California. Directed by longtime collaborator Trevor Hay (Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin), and produced by longtime collaborators Samantha F. Voxakis, Karen Racanelli and Erik Carstensen, Felder’s newest work takes on Russia’s most celebrated and perhaps most mysterious composer, Tchaikovsky. A time-bending story of culture and politics that explores the mystery around some of the greatest music ever composed, Our Great Tchaikovsky will preview September 6, open September 10 and run through October 1.
Our Great Tchaikovsky had a record-breaking World Premiere at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, followed by an equally record-breaking run at the Laguna Playhouse. Elizabeth Marie Himchak of the San Diego Union-Tribune raved, “A powerful, emotional experience well worth seeing. Critic’s Pick.” Jon Reimer of the San Diego Reader enthused, “Felder creates a performance that both entertains and makes audiences think. Exquisite music, artistically thoughtful images, amazing characters. This production should not be missed. Critic’s Pick!” Our Great Tchaikovsky will appear at Los Angeles’ Wallis Theatre immediately prior to arriving in Chicago.
“Tchaikovsky’s music has mesmerized me since as a child upon first hearing his 6th Symphony, the ‘Pathetique’ playing on our home radio. Four decades later, I was invited to create the character of Tchaikovsky on the stage to be performed ultimately in Russia, and what I have encountered as part of the journey is nothing short of amazing and terrifying,” says Felder. “For the first time in creating these classical characters, rather than just present a story, I will show the audience how the character is created. And in so doing, hope to discover the great Tchaikovsky himself.”
Returning to The Royal George Theatre following multiple record-breaking performances(GEORGE GERSHWIN ALONE, MONSIEUR CHOPIN, MAESTRO BERNSTEIN, HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN and as adaptor and director of THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE), Hershey Felder presents this new work in his line of shows centers around the world’s greatest composers and musicians.
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is Russia’s most famous composer and one of the greatest composers of all time. Among his masterworks are Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker; Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto no. 1, Rococo Variations for Cello; the1812 Overture and Marche Slav; the opera Eugene Onegin; the Symphony no. 6, Pathétique, and so many more. Of the last symphony, his Pathétique, Tchaikovsky said: “Let them guess what it means…” Nine days after he conducted that symphony's premiere in St. Petersburg as a healthy man, at the age of 53, the great composer was dead. To this day, how and why is still a mystery. Our Great Tchaikovsky explores the possibilities.
In addition to the Director Trevor Hay, the creative team also includes Hershey Felder (Scenic Designer), Abigail Caywood (Costume Designer), Christopher Ash (Lighting and Projections Designer), Erik Carstensen (Sound Designer), and Meghan Maiya (Research and Dramaturgy).
Hershey Felder (Performer/Playwright). 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); Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin; Franz Liszt in Musik and Lincoln: An American Story. In addition, he performs concerts of The Great American Song Book Sing-Along at every theatre where his shows are presented. Future productions include the new musical, Chosen by G-d for which he is writing music, book and lyrics. His compositions and recordings includeAliyah, 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 Pianoand 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 is the producer and designer for the musical Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford. 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) has worked with Felder on several productions including An American Story for Actor and Orchestra, Abe Lincoln's Piano, Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt In Musik and The Pianist of Willesden Lane. Hay began working with the historic Old Globe Theatre in San Diego at the age of nine, where he held his first position of selling Old Globe memorabilia. Over the next 32 years, he went on to various aspects of production on more than 80 presentations, including the Broadway productions of Damn Yankees, Dr. Seuss' 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 11 seasons of the Summer Shakespeare Festival Repertory, as well as work on Tracy Letts' August: Osage County, directed by Sam Gold.
Performances of Our Great Tchaikovsky are as follows: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.
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.