By Ashley Busenlener
The acclaimed Hershey Felder returns to The Wallis, beginning Thursday, July 26, with Hershey Felder: Beethoven, an illuminating and unforgettable journey through time that will bring you closer to the essence of a genius.
Beethoven is an extraordinary one-man musical play that brings the composer to life through the eyes of a Viennese doctor who spent his boyhood by the Maestro’s side. This unique perspective on Beethoven’s life and work is based on Dr. Gerhard von Breuning’s memoir, Aus dem Schwarzspanierhaus, which recounts how he helped care for the aging composer when he was 12 as the son of Beethoven’s best friend.
The show takes the audience on an intense and theatrical musical journey, with Felder switching back and forth from the characters of Dr. Breuning to Beethoven throughout the performance.
Felder will thrill audiences with several of Beethoven’s greatest compositions including the “Moonlight Sonata,” “Pathetique Sonata” and selections from the 5th and 9th Symphonies. Prolific television and Broadway director Joel Zwick directs.
“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, Artistic Director of The Wallis. “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.”
Broadway World reported that Hershey Felder: Beethoven shattered box office records at its world premiere at TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, establishing a new record at the 48-year-old company. Felder attributes the show’s success to the tremendous popularity of what he considers the world’s greatest composer.
The show was also a hit with the critics. The Mercury News called Beethoven a “towering performance about a towering performer,” while Palo Alto Weekly described the show as “rapturous and exhilarating.” Talkin’ Broadway said the performance was “not to be missed.”
Felder last appeared at The Wallis with the critically acclaimed shows Maestro Bernstein and Our Great Tchaikovsky. Next season he will bring the L.A. premiere of Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story, featuring the music of Impressionist composer Claude Debussy, to The Wallis. Tickets for the latter show are currently only available through a subscription to The Wallis 2018/19 Season.
Illuminating and unforgettable, “Hershey Felder: Beethoven” is essential summer entertainment. On stage Thursday, July 26 – Sunday, August 12 at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Tickets are $45-$125 online at TheWallis.org/Beethoven or call (310) 746-4000.