July 15, 2016
Hershey Felder channels the great composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein in Maestro, a new play with music written and performed by award-winning actor and musician Hershey Felder, and directed by Joel Zwick at 59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, Artistic Director; Peter Tear, Executive Producer; Brian Beirne, Managing Director). Maestro plays August 31 – October 16. The show opens Sunday, September 11 at 3PM.
Maestro spans the entire 20th Century combining Bernstein’s personal story, his original music and the music that inspired him. Leonard Bernstein, arguably 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 has previously played Los Angeles’ The Geffen Playhouse, San Diego’s The Old Globe Theatre, Boston’s Paramount Theatre, Chicago’s Royal George Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cleveland’s Allen Theatre, New York’s The Town Hall and more. The Boston Globe praised Felder’s “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 Union-Tribune wrote that Felder “…hits all the right notes. Hershey Felder’s Maestro is a pleasure to watch, involving and rich…He is a masterful pianist with a showman’s sense of drama and dynamics” …”one of Felder’s best.”
“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, Maestro 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 throughout all the cities is his one-of-a-kind greatness – both as an artist and a personality – and the incredible impact that had not only an entire nation but on the entire world. The art and business of music exists as we know it today because of Maestro Bernstein.”
LISTINGS INFORMATION FOR MAESTRO: Maestro plays Aug. 31 – Oct. 16 at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street.) Opening night is Sunday, Sept. 11at 3PM. Performances Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7PM, Friday and Saturday at 8PM, with matinees Saturday at 2PM and Sunday at 3PM. There are two additional Thursday matinees on Sept. 29 and Oct. 13 at 2PM. There will be no performances Sept. 24 at 2PM or 8PM; Oct. 2 at 7PM, or Oct. 11 at 7PM. Tickets are $25 – $70 ($25 – $49 for 59E59 members)and may be purchased by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, online at 59E59.org, or in person at the 59E59 Theaters Box Office. Groups of 10+ should contact Ginger Dzerk, Director of Ticketing Services at 646-892-7986 or [email protected]. Rates for small groups (10-19) are $60/ticket. Groups 20+ are $50/ticket, and groups of currently-enrolled students 10+ are $20/ticket. Some restrictions may apply.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
HERSHEY FELDER (Leonard Bernstein/Playwright). Writing in American Theatre, Hedy Weiss said, “Hershey Felder is in a category all his own.” Over the past 20 years he has played over 4,500 performances of his self-created solo productions at the some of the world’s most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. His shows include: George Gershwin Alone (Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, West End’s Duchess Theatre); Monsieur Chopin; Beethoven; Maestro (Leonard Bernstein); Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin; Franz Liszt in Musik and Lincoln: An American Story. In addition, he performs concerts of “The Great American Song Book Singalong” at every theatre where his shows are presented. Future productions include Tchaikovsky (January 2017 premiere at the San Diego Rep) and the new musical, Chosen By God for which he is writing music, book and lyrics. 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 very successful play with music, The Pianist of Willesden Lane and for the new musical Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford, he is the producer and designer. 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 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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The Drama Desk Award-winning 59E59 THEATERS is the number one Off-Broadway destination in New York City. In the heart of Midtown, just east of Central Park, 59E59 Theaters is a spectacular modern theater complex with three stages and a lively bar on the mezzanine level.Founded in 2002, 59E59 Theaters presents Off-Broadway productions by not-for-profit companies from across the United States and around the world. Owned and operated by the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation, 59E59 Theaters brings new, innovative and invigorating work to East Side audiences. 59E59 Theaters aims to provide a space for emerging and established not-for-profit theater companies to reach new audiences and expand the range of theater available in an Off-Broadway setting. 59E59 Theaters is committed to fostering diversity in its theater programming.59E59 Theaters features the best American and international writing that has been carefully curated to fulfill our decade-long mission of bringing new plays to a new audience. We carefully select groundbreaking new work from across the spectrum of the theatrical arts for our three theaters, including an annual festival of new British theater called Brits Off Broadway and a preview of shows going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called East to Edinburgh. www.59E59.org