Hershey Felder's BEETHOVEN Brings Composer to Life

Hershey Felder's BEETHOVEN Brings Composer to Life

Hershey Felder returns to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Artswith Beethoven, directed by Joel Zwick, from July 27 to August 12, 2018. This new production is based on the original Aus dem Schwarzspanierhausby Dr. Gerhard von Breuning with text by Felder and features some of Beethoven's greatest compositions from his keyboard works such as the "Emperor Concerto" to the 5thand 9thSymphonies, his keyboard sonatas, and chamber music. The Samantha F. Voxakis, Karen Racanelli and Erik Carstensen production is an extraordinary one-man musical play that brings the composer to life as it dramatizes the true story of a Viennese doctor who spent his boyhood by the Maestro's side as the son of Beethoven's best friend. Critically lauded in its recent world premiere at Theaterworks Silicon Valley, the Mercury Newscalled it a "towering performance about a towering composer." Significantly, Broadway Worldreported that "Hershey Felder, Beethovenshattered box office records at TheatreWorks, establishing a new record of the 48-year old company." Felder attributes the show's success to the tremendous popularity of what he considers the world's greatest composer.

"Beethoven is a prime example of the capacity of man to overcome personal tragedy and commit to leaving the world a better, richer place," says Paul Crewes, The Wallis' Artistic Director. "Hershey Felder's return to The Wallis is, as always, a treat for us as well as for our appreciative audiences, who will experience the humanity of the man behind the music and the humanity in the music itself."

Joel Zwick, who has collaborated with Felder on George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopinand Maestro Bernstein,is recognized as one of Hollywood's most prolific directors of episodic television and has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for Broadway touring companies. Associate Director is Trevor Hay, and Meghan Maiya did historical and biographical research.

Scenic design is by Hershey Felder; costume design is from Theatr' Hall, Paris; lighting and projection design are by Christopher Ash;projection co-design is by Lawrence Siefert; and sound design and production are by Co-Producer Erik Carstensen.

About the Creative Team:

Hershey Felder (Playwright/Performer/Scenic Design) Named to Time Magazine's 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals, Hershey Felder has played over 5,000 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world's most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. American Theatre Magazinehas said, "Hershey Felder is in a category all his own." His shows include: George Gershwin Alone(Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre, West End's Duchess Theatre); Monsieur Chopin; Beethoven; Maestro (Leonard Bernstein); Franz Liszt in Musik, Lincoln: An American Story, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, andOur Great Tchaikovsky.His 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; and An American Story for Actor and Orchestra. Hershey is the adaptor, director and designer for the internationally performed play-with-music The Pianist of Willesden Lane; producer and designer for the musical Louis and Keely: 'Live' at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford; and writer and director for Flying Solo, featuring opera legend Nathan Gunn. Upcoming projects include The Story of My Cello, a solo workfor cello virtuoso Antonio Lysy. Composition projects include EDITH,an opera, based on the story of British nurse Edith Cavell; a Washington Irving musical, and a new musical based on the award-winning book Out on a Ledgeby Eva Libitzky. Hershey has operated a full-service Production Company since 2001. He has been a scholar-in-residence at Harvard University's Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, the first female 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 Albertand Elvis Has Left the Building. Mr. Zwick directed the Broadway production of George Gershwin Aloneat the Helen Hayes Theatre. 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. He and Hershey Felder have collaborated on Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven As I Knew Himand Maestro. Currently, Mr. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood's most prolific directors of episodic television, having the direction of over 650 episodes to his credit. 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. He directed Esther (Promenade Theater, NY), Merry-Go-Round(Chicago and Las Vegas), Last Chance SaloonandWoycek(West End). Mr. Zwick has taught drama at Yale University, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Wheaton College, and the University of Southern California. He 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,I Didn't Do Itand K.C. Undercover.

Trevor Hay (Associate Director) Directed the world premieres of An American Story for Actor and Orchestra, Abe Lincoln's Piano,Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. He is Associate Director for Mona Golabek's The Pianist of Willesden Lane. Former member of the historic Old Globe Theatrein San Diego where, at the age of nine, his first position was selling Old Globe memorabilia. Over the next 32 years, Mr. Hay went on to various aspects of production on more than 80 presentations, including the Broadway productions of Jack O'Brien'sDamn Yankees, How the Grinch Stole Christmas,andTwyla Tharpe's The Times They Are A-Changin'. Included in his 23 seasons at the Old Globewere eleven seasons of the Summer Shakespeare Festival Repertory, as well as work on Tracy Letts' August: Osage County,directed by Sam Gold, and Hershey Felder's George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin and Maestro Bernstein.

CHRISTOPHER ASH (Lighting & Projection Design) NYCDesign and Associate Credits Broadway/UK:On The Town, An Act of God, Crucible, Prince of Broadway, LazarusTheater:Guthrie, Yale Rep, Soho Rep, Engeman, Theatre Row, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Chautauqua Institute, Old Globe, Geffen, South Coast Rep, LATC, San Diego Rep, Arizona, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Theatre For A New Audience, New York Theatre Workshop, Shakespeare In The Park, Signature, Philadelphia Theatre Co. Opera:Lyric Opera Chicago, Canadian Opera, Houston Grand, Salzburg, Royal Opera, Metropolitan, Opera Delaware, Summer Opera DC., Santa Fe Opera Dance:Charlotte Ballet, River North, Hubbard Street 2, Heidi Latsky, Anadolu Ate?i (Istanbul), CoisCeim (Dublin), Hershey Park, National Dance Insitute. Training:MFA Yale School of Drama.www.christopherash.com

LAWRENCE SIEFERT (Projection Co-Design) For over twenty years, Lawrence has been involved in theatre, corporate events and film. Some of his credits include projection design for the San Diego Opera's Wozzeck and Moby Dick. He is a recipient of two Telly Awards and one Davy Award for How Do You Build Hope(Habitat for Humanity).

Erik Carstensen (Sound Design/Production Manager/Co-Producer) Erik has worked for Eighty-Eight Entertainment since 2008. He has served as sound designer on Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, Jamaica Farewell, Baritones Unbound, Louis and Keely: 'Live' at the Sahara, Jack Lemmon's Son, Rockstar, An American Story, The Pianist of Willesden Lane (2012 Ovation Award Nomination), Maestro Leonard Bernstein, Our Great Tchaikovsky,andBeethoven As I Knew Him(2009 Ovation Award Winner). Formerly, he was the master sound technician at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and was production engineer on over 60 productions, including Allegiance, Robin and the Seven Hoods, A Catered Affair, Hershey Felder's George Gershwin Alone, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chita Rivera-A Dancers Life, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Full Monty, Dirty Blonde, andFloyd Collins. Mr. Carstensen is a member of IATSE Local 122.

MEGHAN MAIYA (Historical & Biographical Research)Meghan is the Director of Research and Special Projects for Hershey Felder Presents (HFP). She has been doing biographical and historical research for HFP's new theatrical productions since 2013. Productions include Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik; Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin; andOur Great Tchaikovsky. Additional projects include Production Research & Imagery forLouis and Keely 'Live' at the Sahara; Scenic Decoration for The Pianist of Willesden Lane, Abe Lincoln's Piano, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, andJamaica Farewell. Formerly, Meghan worked in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego as a Senior Program Evaluation Specialist and Project Manager. She managed multiple research projects in the fields of Integrative Medicine and Behavioral Health. Additionally, Meghan spent twelve years as a psychology professor at San Diego State University and local community colleges.

Karen Racanelli (Executive Producer) Karen comes to Hershey Felder Presents from Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she worked as General Manager for 21 years, overseeing daily operations, and produced several shows performed and/or directed by Hershey Felder. She has represented the League of Resident Theatres during negotiations with both Actors' Equity Association and the union of Stage Directors and Choreographers, served on LORT's Executive Committee and served as a panelist at several LORT meetings. Prior to her tenure at Berkeley Rep, Karen worked as an independent producer at several Bay Area theatre companies and has served on the boards of Climate Theater, Overtone Theatre Company, Park Day School, and the Julia Morgan Center. Karen was named a 2016 "Unsung Hero of Arts Administration" by the national arts and culture organization, Fractured Atlas. She is married to Bay Area arts attorney MJ Bogatin.

Samantha F. Voxakis (Producer/Company Manager) Samantha is a native of Maryland where she spent twelve memorable years working in the front office of the Baltimore Orioles. Since 2004, Sam has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of Eighty-Eight LLC/Hershey Felder Presents. With special thanks to her very supportive family and to Mr. Felder.

Hershey Felder PRESENTS (Producer) Hershey Felder Presents is the newest division of Eighty-Eight Entertainment which was created in 2001 by Hershey Felder and is devoted to the creation of new works of musical theatre. Current projects include the musical plays Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, Our Great Tchaikovsky, Nathan Gunn: Flying Solo andThe Pianist of Willesden Lane. Recordings include Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre, Back from Broadway, George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven as I Knew Him, An American Story for Actor & Orchestra, andHershey Felder as Irving Berlin.

Single ticket prices range from $35 - $125. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit TheWallis.org/Beethoven, call 310.746.4000, or stop by in person at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Ticket Services located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Ticket prices subject to change.

Audiences are invited to enjoy craft cocktails, a handpicked bottle of wine or draft beer at The Briskin Bar @ The Wallis located in the beautiful Jim and Eleanor Randall Grand Hall before, during and after each performance, and all audience members can now enjoy drinks at their seats during the performance.

About the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts:

Since opening its doors in October 2013, The Wallis has produced or presented more than 250 dance, theater, opera, classical music and family programs to an ever-expanding audience. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Paul Crewes and Managing Director Rachel Fine, The Wallis brings audiences world-class theater, dance and music, performed by many of the world's most talented and sought-after artists. Featuring eclectic programming that mirrors the diverse landscape of Los Angeles and its notability as the entertainment capital of the world, The Wallis offers original and revered works from across the U.S. and around the globe.

The mission of The Wallis is to create, present and celebrate unique performing arts events and educational programs that reflect the rich cultural diversity of our community. Nominated for 48 Ovation Awards, seven L.A. Drama Critic's Circle Awards and the recipient of six architectural awards, The Wallis is a breathtaking 70,000-square-foot venue that celebrates the classic and the modern and was designed by Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA of Studio Pali Fekete architects. The building features the restored, original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office (on the National Register of Historic Places) that serves as the theater's dramatic yet welcoming lobby, and houses the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, GRoW at The Wallis: A Space for Arts Education (a gift of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Family and the Annenberg Foundation) and the contemporary 500-seat, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater. Together, these structures embrace the city's history and its future, creating a performing arts destination for L.A.-area visitors and residents alike.

Photo Credit: Christopher Ash

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