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Interview: Hershey Felder of 'HERSHEY FELDER AS TCHAIKOWSKI' from Florence, Italy

BWW Interview: Hershey Felder of HERSHEY FELDER AS TCHAIKOWSKI at Florence, Italy

Interview: Hershey Felder of 'HERSHEY FELDER AS TCHAIKOWSKI' from Florence, Italy


Last time we spoke we were looking at another period of "lock-down" now we are talking about vaccines - what are you hearing from the theaters?

I am in regular touch with the theatres who had me booked for their stages over the next year. The general sense I get from everyone is a cautious optimism, not necessary with regard to exact dates, but just the idea that in good time we will return to the theatre to perform with audiences. What I am noting however is that theatres are considering all the possibilities - smaller audiences, careful programming, also realizing that even with a vaccine, audience may just not rush back to crowd situations. The directors that I have spoken with are approaching things with an understanding of reality and how to proceed practically and carefully, always adding: "But there is nothing we can be sure of at this point."

Russia has just been accused of very serious cyber attacks on the US government. As this is the most "Russian" of your works (so far) Do you feel that will impact people's view of Tchaikowski?

Interview: Hershey Felder of 'HERSHEY FELDER AS TCHAIKOWSKI' from Florence, Italy

I cannot imagine it would. It is also important to note that while it might be said that "Russia" has been accused of nefarious behavior, these are operatives at the level that they operate on. I think it's important not to paint a whole society with a brush that is reserved to paint just a few.

How have you adapted the stage version of Tchaikowski for the stream?

In the years since the premiere of this work (2017) a good deal of attention has been paid to the fact that anti-LGBTQ sentiment is not just the province of Russia. Considering that this piece deals with Tchaikovsky's humanity set against a period of limited acceptance and understanding, the story is relevant today to us, sadly, more than we imagined. I have shaped the same material of original work for a screen audience using Florence, Italy where we shoot and perform as the backdrop. Tchaikovsky escaped to Florence multiple times in his life - twice in particular, when things were complicated for him at home in Russia.

The financial support of wealthy patrons was commonplace in the lives of many of the great composers - and something you have been very diligent about mentioning in many of your shows. Do you think that is something missing nowadays?

Interview: Hershey Felder of 'HERSHEY FELDER AS TCHAIKOWSKI' from Florence, Italy

I think we have the same kind of support, and maybe even more - large institutions receiving funds, grants to artists and funding programs, and so on. The difference is that there is a middle class able to contribute and also, even those who don't earn very much take part in artistic support. The thing is, is there ever enough for art? Hardly. But I do think that people are doing their best to contribute even in these difficult times.

You have been very generous with the proceeds of your livestreams supporting theaters and arts organizations. Have the theaters done enough to help the actors, directors and non-administrative personnel in the theaters - the people who make the art for them to put on?

I think the most challenging issue facing the arts in this crisis is how to actually care for the ones making the art. I am trying my best to help both institutions and individuals, but as I said, it never really is enough. And we have to commit to help the arts community at large and also individuals. Artists are the reflections - or reflectors - of our souls. Artists are also the inventors of so much that we hold dear, and artists are also responsible for creating so much that allow us to live the way we do. Attention must be paid. would like to thank Hershey Felder for taking the time out of his rehearsal schedule to sit and chat with us.

Sunday, December 20th, 2020 at 5pm Pacific | 7pm Central | 8pm Eastern.

Tickets available at:

-Peter Danish

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From This Author - Peter Danish