Hershey Felder is Leonard Bernstein, at The Town Hall, 7/17

Hershey Felder is Leonard Bernstein, at The Town Hall, 7/17

The story and music of the great composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein comes to life on stage whenThe Town Hall 2014 Summer Season: Broadway Preludes presents Maestro Bernstein, a new play with music written and performed by award-winning actor and musician Hershey Felder (Broadway's GeorgeGershwin Alone). Directed by Joel Zwick, Maestro Bernstein plays one night only, Thursday, July 17 at 8PMat The Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street.)

Combining first person narrative, and his own music as well as music that inspired him, Maestro Bernstein is a tale spanning the entire 20th Century. Leonard Bernstein, America's greatest musician, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world's musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star...for Leonard Bernstein, boundaries simply did not exist. Maestro Bernstein is currently playing at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in an extended run.

The Town Hall engagement marks the New York premiere of Maestro Bernstein, which has previously played to rave reviews on the stages of Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Chicago's Royal George Theatre, Cleveland Play House and more. The Boston Globe wrote "in his finely wrought portrait, Felder captures Bernstein's restless energy, his combination of self-confidence and vulnerability, and his flair for drama." The Chicago Sun-Times raved "you will walk out of the theater realizing you've barely breathed for the duration of this astonishing musical and theatrical transmigration of souls." The San Diego Tribune wrote that Felder "...hits all the right notes. Hershey Felder's Bernstein is a pleasure to watch, involving and rich. ... He is a masterful pianist with a showman's sense of drama and dynamics."

"Hershey Felder's astonishing talents as a musician, actor and writer are uniquely combined in capturing so much of the essence of my father, Leonard Bernstein," says Alexander Bernstein. "His performance, rather than being an attempted imitation, truly reveals the man, his story and his music."

"In 2009, I was honored to receive the blessing of the Bernstein family to create the role of the Maestro on the stage," says Hershey Felder. "Since its premiere in Los Angeles one year later,Maestro Bernstein has played to audiences throughout the country who grew up with their "Lenny" - the man who brought audiences into the magical world of great music. What resonates most deeply throughout all the cities is the incredible impact his one-of-a-kind greatness - both as an artist and a personality - had on an entire nation and on the entire world. The art and business of music exists as we know it today because of Maestro Bernstein."

Maestro Bernstein is the final eventin The Town Hall 2014 Summer Season: Broadway Preludes, a trio of unforgettable one-night-only events featuring music from some of Broadway's most beloved songwriters, critically acclaimed musical performers, and fresh-faced talent on the brink of discovery. The series launches on Friday, June 27 at 8PM with The Ambassador Revue, the American premiere of a lost Cole Porter score featuring Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, Amy Burton, Anita Gillette, Jason Graae, Ted Levy, Catherine Russell, Tom Wopat, Randy Skinner, Sara Brians and Mary Giattino-Styles. On Monday, July 14 at 8PM, the series continues with Broadway Rising Stars the annual event at which The Town Hall gives recent graduates from the nation's leading performing arts schools a chance to showcase their talents and perform on the legendary stage. The event, hosted by Scott Siegel, features a special guest appearance by Tony Award winner Bill Irwin.

TICKETS FOR MAESTRO BERNSTEIN: Tickets are on sale at The Town Hall Box Office, 123 West 43rd Street, (noon-6pm, Mon-Fri) and Ticketmaster.com, 800.982.2787. Tickets range from $30 - 65.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE TOWN HALL 2014 SUMMER SERIES: A $125 three-show subscription series can be purchased by mail-order-only. Mail order forms are available at www.TheTownHall.org. Save 20% by purchasing a "Gold Circle" subscription for $150 and get the best seats in the house.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

HERSHEY FELDER (Leonard Bernstein/Playwright) Broadway, London's West End: George Gershwin Alone (Helen Hayes Theatre, Duchess Theatre). Composers Sonata 1999 -2014 - George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven As I Knew Him, Maestro Bernstein - at dozens of theatres across the U.S. and around the world. Winner of 2007 Los Angeles Ovation Awards, Best Musical and Best Actor for George Gershwin Alone. 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; An American Story for Actor and Orchestra. Worldwide live broadcasts,George Gershwin Alone. As director, Mr. Felder premiered Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the Geffen Playhouse in April 2012 and recently presented the world premiere of Chris Lemmon in Jack Lemmon Returns. Mr. Felder has been a Scholar in Residence at Harvard University's Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada.

JOEL ZWICK (Director) Joel Zwick directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include Fat Albert and Elvis Has Left the Building. Mr. Zwick directed the Broadway production of George Gershwin Alone at the Helen Hayes Theatre. He and Hershey Felder have also collaborated on Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven as I Knew Him and Maestro. Mr. Zwick began his theatrical career at La Mama E.T.C., as director of the La Mama Plexus. He has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Broadway touring companies. Currently, Mr. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood's most prolific director of episodic television, having the direction of 600 episodes to his credit. These include having directed nineteen pilots which have gone on to become regular series. Previous New York productions have included Dance With Me (Tony nomination), Shenandoah (Broadway national tour), Oklahoma (national tour) and Cold Storage(American Place Theater). He acted in the original New York production of MacBird and directed Esther (Promenade Theater, NY), Merry-Go-Round (Chicago and Las Vegas), Last Chance Saloon and Woyzeck (West End, London). Mr. Zwick has taught drama at Yale University, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College, and the University of Southern California and is a graduate (B.A., M.A.) of Brooklyn College. He is currently directing for the Disney Channel and has been at the helm of Suite Life on Deck, Dog With a Blog, Jessie, Shake it Up, Girl Meets World and I Didn't Do It.

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