CHICAGO – HERSHEY FELDER PRESENTS the Midwest Premiere of Our Great Tchaikovsky, a new play-with-music featuring the compositions of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Directed by Trevor Hay with a book and performance by Hershey Felder. Following critically acclaimed and record breaking productions at San Diego Rep, Hartford Stage, Los Angeles’ Wallis Annenberg, Theatreworks Silicon Valley and London’s West End, 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 April 11 and close May 13 at Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre, 1650 North Halsted, Chicago.
In Our Great Tchaikovsky, the actor/writer/pianist/historian Felder recreates, through music and performance, the world of Russia’s most famous composer, his life under an unforgiving regime, and explores the mystery of his death, nine days after conducting a symphonic premiere in apparently perfect health. The musical play made a remarkable debut in January 2017 at San Diego Repertory Theatre, where the San Diego Tribune hailed Felder’s bold portrayal as “Stunning. Potent. His virtuoso touch brings beautiful life to Tchaikovsky.” Our Great Tchaikovsky has since played to critical acclaim in Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and most recently in London where it was declared “fascinating, an absorbing and poignant study” by The Stage UK, while What’s On Stage London lauded Felder as “astoundingly talented,” “magnetic,” and “sensationally good,” noting, “It is a rare privilege to see such extraordinary talent live. Hugely interesting, a very special piece of theatre. Well worth seeing.” Coming directly from its Bay Area premiere with TheatreWorks, Felder’s piece on the Russian composer was a hit with critics and audiences alike. The Mercury News wrote Felder’s “ability to conjure the great Russian master certainly swept the opening night audience away,” while the Palo Alto Weekly shared “fans will thoroughly relish another evening with the maestro” and “exhilarating” (San Francisco Examiner).
Returning to Chicago, this time at Steppenwolf in the Upstairs Theatre, following multiple record-breaking Chicago 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.
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 Barry (Associate Lighting and Projection Designer) Erik Carstensen (Sound Designer/Production Coordinator), Meghan Maiya (Research), Joel Zwick (producing consultant). This presentation is Produced by Samantha F. Voxakis, Karen Racanelli and Erik Carstensen.
HERSHEY FELDER (Tchaikovsky/The Artist/Playwright) Named to Time Magazine’s 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals, Hershey Felder has played over 4,500 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. American Theatre Magazine has said, “Hershey Felder is in a category all his own.” 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, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. 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; producer and designer for the musical Louis and Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford; and writer and director for the upcoming Flying Solo, featuring opera legend Nathan Gunn. Upcoming projects include The Story of My Cello, a solo work for cello virtuoso Antonio Lysy. Composition projects include EDITH, an opera, based on the story of British nurse Edith Cavell; a Washington Irving musical, and Chosen by God, a musical journey based on journalist Joshua Hammer’s memoir. 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, and Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin. 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 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 as 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 Our Great Tchaikovsky are as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Sundays at 3pm and 7:30pm. All tickets are $55. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office at 312.335.1650 or visit www.steppenwolf.org/tickets–events/ or www.steppenwolf.org.