While the set is richly appointed with mahogany furniture, candles, and even a samovar, there are also points when the projections (designed by Christopher Ash) seem too ornate and literal when a more abstract evocation of the music would give the piece more subtlety red ballet shoes. The “Nutcracker” visuals in particular feel overwrought. Director Trevor Hay also lets the pace drag here and there. However, Felder still plays the crowd like it was a Steinway. The play might lack a symphonic sense of emotion but his ability to conjure the great Russian master certainly swept the opening night audience away..
When Bay Area theater patrons ponder great composers from Beethoven to Bernstein, it’s only natural if they picture all of them looking a bit like Hershey Felder. The Canadian playwright, actor and musician has carved out a unique theatrical niche for himself with a string of one-man shows about famous composers, all played by himself at the piano. The latest of these, “Our Great Tchaikovsky,” makes its Bay Area premiere with TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts red ballet shoes.
Felder quickly became a fixture at Berkeley Repertory Theatre after the success of his show “George Gershwin Alone” in 2013. Later that same year “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” played Berkeley Rep, the one-woman show he adapted and directed for performer Mona Golabek based on the book Golabek co-wrote about her mother’s escape from Nazi-controlled Austria as a child red ballet shoes. That show was such a hit that it returned two years later. In 2014 he brought Berkeley not one but two of his own solo shows, “Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro” and “Monsieur Chopin.”..
He first charmed TheatreWorks audiences in 2016 with “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” (which played Berkeley Rep the following year), then he returned to TheatreWorks in 2017 with “Hershey Felder, Beethoven.” Both shows broke box office records for the company, so his latest is keenly anticipated. “Our Great Tchaikovsky” debuted at San Diego Rep last January, where it became the highest grossing show in that company’s 41-year history. As a writer and performer and composer Felder does more than just these biographical composer pieces, but the demand for them keeps him busy red ballet shoes. The Gershwin piece was the first one he did in 1999, and they soon took on a life of their own..
“You try it and you think this will never go, and it does, and you realize you have a form,” Felder says. “And then you try your second one and you think, oh my god, I’m repeating the form red ballet shoes. I have to change a little bit. And you see the public loves it and they want another one, so you do another one. So is this yet another version of the last one, just a different story? It becomes a very interesting challenge to push the envelope with each story. At the same time, the audience has been very clear. They want to meet the composer and they want his story, and they want me to tell it and play the character. So I’ve sort of gotten my marching orders.”..