2 PIANOS 4 HANDS Plays Park Square Theatre, Now thru 12/30
A sell-out in 2010, Park Square Theatre brings 2 Pianos 4 Hands, the delightful play about two piano whiz kids with stars in their eyes, back to the stage for the holidays tonight, December 5-30, 2012. A side-splitting celebration of dreaming of greatness, 2 Pianos 4 Hands is a perfect show for the entire family, children ages 11 and older.
2 Pianos 4 Hands revolves around the lives of Ted and Richard as they journey through years of studying the piano. They share the same goal of being a concert pianist, and work fervently towards their dream amidst pushy parents, eccentric teachers, stage fright, the agony of competitions and the dream of success. The two actors play multiple roles as fifteen years of learning the art of piano playing unfolds— all while playing two grand pianos.
The show is loosely based on the lives of playwrights Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt. 2 Pianos 4 Hands ran for six months Off Broadway and has enjoyed more than 4,000 performances in 175 cities worldwide.
Peter Vitale and Michael Pearce Donley will reprise the roles of Ted and Richard, roles that require incredible virtuosity on the piano. Tom Frey, who has played both roles himself, returns to direct. “While I can’t expect 2 Pianos 4 Hands to change your life the way it changed mine,” says Frey, “I know you’re going to love these two incredible performers, two people with far more courage than I had at the beginning of my journey with the play. It’s been my privilege to help facilitate them in becoming Ted and Richard, and I’ve learned a great deal from them in the process. In addition to their courage, I admire the sheer panache they demonstrate in navigating through this thing…I know you will love them, and hope the show changes you in some way.”
As MPR’s Alison Young reported in 2010 when Michael Pearce Donley appeared on Music with Minnesotans, “in his mid-teens, the aspiring pianist (Donley) got a gig at a local pub. He brought his "Carpenters Gold" songbook and played a few hours every Thursday night. Soon, the regulars offered him good money to stop playing so they could listen to the jukebox! The story does have a happy ending as this wonderfully creative and warm comedian/actor/writer/musician has gone on to produce great things. Michael is the creator of "Triple Espresso"—a show that ran for 15 years.”
The Star Tribune said of Donley and Vitale, “These musicians can act! Or should we say, these actors can play the piano? A dynamic, funny duo does it all at Park Square Theatre.”
Peter Vitale began playing piano at the age of six and continued his studies throughout his college years, "I entered college thinking I would be a piano major, but I shifted to voice," Vitale says. "I wasn't the kid who could sit in the practice room five hours a day."
The idea of restlessness comes through several times in 2 Pianos 4 Hands, and Vitale feels that this is a universal trait in the arts community, "A lot of us have ended up taking detours on the way to what we do in life."
Donley and Vitale have known and worked with each other for many years. Vitale feels that the camaraderie that he and Donley share is key to the production, "We've worked together in orchestra pits and at Ten Thousand Things. He's a great, positive guy and an overly talented performer. That's important for the show— to be able to feel comfortable around each other.”
2 Pianos 4 Hands will feature Erik E. Paulson (Scenic Designer), Jason Lee Resler (Costume Designer), Michael P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), Katharine Horowitz (Sound Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designers), all under the direction of Tom Frey.
Pianos are provided courtesy of Schmitt Music.
Performance Schedule: Previews are tonight, December 5 and 6. The show opens Friday, December 7 and continues through December 30. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. except for Sunday performances, which begin at 2 p.m. Five Saturday matinees have been added at 2 p.m. All performances are in Park Square’s intimate 340-seat theater in Saint Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place.
Ticket prices: Previews: $25 (limited availability). Regular Run $38 & $58. Discounts are available for seniors, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square box office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon-5 p.m. Monday through Friday), or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org.