Great Russian composer’s life is portrayed on TheatreWorks stage

Published online in Morgan Hill Life on January 18, 2018

Piano virtuoso Hershey Felder (brings to life the music and story of composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents

When you think of “the arts,” symphony music, theater acting, opera, plays, writing, composing, conducting, producing comes to mind. Usually the arts point to one or perhaps two of the talents that participate in the person you watch. Not when it’s Hershey Felder.

The adjectives sprinkle down over this man like fine sea salt in a jar with large holes. He does everything. The book is by him. The fabulous scenic design is by him. He plays a superb piano and sings with a wonderful voice you want to hear more of. All one can do is label him a genius, sit back and enjoy anything he does and wait with bated breath for his next production.

He mesmerized us with his Beethoven and Irving Berlin legends, breaking all TheatreWorks box office records from 2016 and 2017. Now he brings some little known facts about the unhappy life and death of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russia’s most famous composer.

Tchaikovsky was a closeted gay due to Russia’s laws that sent those of that sexual orientation to Siberia to a life of hard labor and torture. Raised by a judgmental mother, a bullying brother and an estranged father, he rose above all to compose some of the world’s most best known and stunningly beautiful music in ballets including “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty,” symphonies such as the “Sixth Pathétique.” The composer’s famous “1812 Overture,” commemorate Russia’s defence of its motherland against Napoleon’s invading Grande Armée, just taps the top of the barrel of this amazing genius.

The Bay Area premiere of Our Great Tchaikovsky presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley performs through February 11, 2018 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents
Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents

The background screen and set keep the audience’s interest as the play moves in time with the story of his life. Tchaikovsky is death at age 53 is still a mystery. Some say that he was murdered or he died of cholera.

Director Trevor Hay works with Felder, getting the best moments from the script, Christopher Ash’s’ lighting and production design brings us into the lavish impression of 19th-century Russia with Erik Carstensen’s sound are right on point and makes this a most memorable production.

Felder’s other successful shows include George Gershwin, Chopin and Leonard Bernstein as well as Broadway productions and movies that are unforgettable presentations that will not leave you after you depart the theatre. As I have said before, Hershey Felder’s amazing talent as an actor, pianist and story teller will stay with you long after the lights have dimmed.

DETAILS

“Hershey Felder, Our Great Tchaikovsky”

Where: Mountain View Center For the Performing Arts

500 Castro Street-Mountain View

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Through: Feb 11

Tickets: $45-$105

Information and reservations : (650) 463-1960

www.theatreworks.org

Camille Bounds

Camille Bounds

Theater Columnist at Morgan Hill Life
Camille Bounds is the theater columnist for the Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy LIfe newspapers. She has performed on Broadway and traveled around the world. She can be reached at: bounds17@gmail,com
Camille Bounds