New Musical PIECE OF MY HEART, Featuring Music of Bert Berns, to Open at Signature Center this Summer
A new musical based on the life and songs of legendary songwriter Bert Berns will open Off Broadway this summer, Merged Work Productions (lead producers) and Jack Thomas (Executive Producer) announced today. The show, titled Piece of My Heart (one of Berns' most well known songs), begins previews at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center on June 25, 2014, with an official opening night set for July 21, 2014.
Bert Berns was born in New York in 1929 and died tragically of a heart attack at just 38 years of age. But in his short career, Berns left an indelible mark on popular music; he made fifty-one pop chart singles in seven years and became one of the most successful songwriters of the 1960s. Piece of My Heart tells his remarkable story through his hit songs, which include "Twist and Shout," "Tell Him," "I Want Candy," "Hang On Sloopy," "Cry, Baby," and many more.
Featuring a cast of sixteen and a band of eight, Piece of My Heart has a book by Daniel Goldfarb, with direction and choreography by Denis Jones. The musical's creative team also includes Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design), David Woolard (Costume Design), Ben Stanton (Lighting Design), Carl Casella (Sound Design), Garry Sherman (Music Supervision & Orchestrations) and Lon Hoyt (Music Direction).
Tickets for the production will go on sale mid-April via TicketCentral.com, and casting information and other news from Piece of My Heart will be announced shortly. For updates, visit www.pieceofmyheartmusical.com.
Bert Berns was one of the great originals of the golden age of rhythm and blues. He first flourished as a staff producer at Atlantic Records, but Berns quickly developed into one of the leading record men of his day. He produced historic rhythm and blues records such as "Cry To Me" by Solomon Burke, "Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters and "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers. Songs of his such as "Twist and Shout," "Hang On Sloopy" or "Piece of My Heart" have become bedrock of modern music, recorded by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Otis Redding, among many others. As head of his own record label, Bang Records, he signed and supervised the first solo records by Neil Diamond and Van Morrison. Born and raised in the Bronx, Berns suffered rheumatic fever as a teenager, an early death sentence in those pre-open-heart surgery days. He died at age 38 on December 30, 1967, at the height of his career. But the music of Bert Berns never died. His songs have been consistently covered by the biggest names in the music business, featured in movie soundtracks, and have inspired many imitations and tributes. His life story will also be told in a forthcoming biography, "Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues" by award-winning journalist and best-selling author Joel Selvin, to be published April 2014 by Counterpoint Press. A documentary film about the life and music of Berns starring Paul McCartney, Solomon Burke and Ben E. King is also in the works.