Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin extended through May 7 “Buoyantly tuneful…Performed with Felder’s customary pianistic flair and pitch-perfect vocals.” —SF Chronicle “The empathy, showmanship and craft on tap may just be the best match of historical figure and performing artist yet.” —Los Angeles Times Head to Michael’s Second Act courtyard bar to pick up Hershey Felder’s CDs ($20 each)

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin

Lyrics and music by Irving Berlin
Book by Hershey Felder
Directed by Trevor Hay
Special Presentation · Peet’s Theatre
April 4–May 7, 2017

Running time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, no intermission

The musical story of an immigrant boy who gave a country its voice.

From Czarist Russia to New York’s Lower East Side, and then throughout the world, Irving Berlin’s life and music epitomizes the American Dream, and his songs capture his patriotic vision of our country. Experience the stories behind this songwriter’s most popular and enduring work, including “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “White Christmas,” and more. Pianist and actor Hershey Felder’s signature creation of character and musical performance will astonish, move, and delight. “It will put a tear in your eye and a song in your heart,”—San Jose Mercury News.

Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. This show has none. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.


Season sponsors

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Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin calendar

Cast and creative team

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Hershey Felder · Irving Berlin / Playwright / Scenic Co-Design

Recently named to Time Magazine’s 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals, Hershey Felder has played over 4,500 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. Writing in American Theatre, Hedy Weiss 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, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. In addition, he performs concerts of “The Great American Song Book Sing-Along” at every theatre where his shows are presented. Future productions include the new musical, Chosen By G-d, 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 produced and designed for the new musical Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford. 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.

Hershey Felder

Trevor Hay · Director / Scenic Co-Design

Trevor Hay directed the world premieres of An American Story for Actor and Orchestra, Lincoln: An American Story, Franz Liszt in Musik, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. He is associate director for Mona Golabek’s The Pianist of Willesden Lane. He is a former member of the historic Old Globe Theatre in San Diego where, at the age of 9, his first position was selling Old Globe memorabilia. Over the next 32 years, he went on to various aspects of production on more than 80 presentations, including the Broadway productions of Jack O’Brien’s Damn Yankees, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Twyla Tharpe’s The Times They Are A-Changin’. Included in his 23 seasons at the Old Globe were 11 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 (Leonard Bernstein).

Richard Norwood · Lighting Design

Richard’s designs for Hershey Felder Presents include Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, Monsieur Chopin, and Beethoven. Richard’s most recent designs include Le Bête and Cookie Play for Trap Door Theatre, and King Hedley II for Congo Square. Richard is the production manager for the theatre at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Christopher Ash · Projection Co-Design

Christopher’s design and associate credits include On the Town, An Act of God, Crucible, Prince of Broadway, and Lazarus, all on Broadway or in the UK; and his regional credits include the Guthrie Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Soho Rep, Engeman Theater, Theatre Row, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Chautauqua Institute, the Old Globe, Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Los Angeles Theatre Center, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Theatre for a New Audience, New York Theatre Workshop, Shakespeare in the Park, Signature Theatre, and Philadelphia Theatre Company. His opera credits include Lyric Opera Chicago, Canadian Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Salzburg Opera House, Royal Opera House, Metropolitan Opera, Opera Delaware, Summer Opera DC, and Santa Fe Opera. His dance credits include Charlotte Ballet, River North, Hubbard Street 2, Heidi Latsky, Anadolu Atesi (Istanbul), CoisCeim (Dublin), Hershey Park, and National Dance Institute. Christopher received his MFA from Yale School of Drama. Visit christopherash.com.

Lawrence Siefert · Projection Co-Design

For over 20 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). Lawrence has been a member of IATSE Local 1022 since 1996.

Erik Carstensen · Sound Design / Production Manager / Co-Producer

Erik has worked for Eighty-Eight Entertainment for 10 years. 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, Lincoln: An American Story, The Pianist of Willesden Lane (2012 Ovation Award nomination), Maestro (Leonard Bernstein), and Beethoven (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, and Floyd Collins. Erik is a member of IATSE Local 122.

Meghan Maiya · Dramaturge and 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 Franz Liszt in Musik, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. Additional projects include production research and imagery for Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara and scenic decoration for The Pianist of Willesden Lane, Lincoln: An American Story, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and Jamaica 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 12 years as a psychology professor at San Diego State University and local community colleges.

Eva Price · Producer

Eva’s upcoming projects include Found: A New Musical (Philadelphia Theatre Company) and Small Mouth Sounds (Signature Center). Select Broadway credits include Dear Evan Hansen, On Your Feet!—The Story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Peter and the Starcatcher (five Tony Awards), Annie (2012 Tony Award-nominated revival), The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle nominations), and The Addams Family. Noted solo shows and concerts include Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion and Broadway engagements of Lewis Black, Carrie Fisher, Kathy Griffin, Colin Quinn (dir. Jerry Seinfeld), Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and The Temptations & The Four Tops. Eva was named one of Crain’s NY 40 Under Forty Rising Business Stars. She is the Executive Producer/EVP for Maximum Entertainment, a producing and general management company focusing on Broadway, Off Broadway, and touring properties.

Karen Racanelli · Executive Producer

Karen comes to Hershey Felder Presents from Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she worked as general manager for 22 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 12 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 family and 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 Our Great Tchaikovsky, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and The Pianist of Willesden Lane. Recordings include Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre, Back from Broadway, George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven, and An American Story for Actor and Orchestra.

Buoyantly tuneful…Performed with Felder’s customary pianistic flair and pitch-perfect vocals.”

San Francisco Chronicle

[Felder’s] got a great story to tell…Will put a tear in your eye and a song in your heart at the same time.”

San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

Felder is the impresario whose relationship with audiences is long-standing, intimate and mutually adoring.”

Chicago Tribune

The whole show is pure magic, deeply moving, flawlessly entertaining, and it had the whole theater in Berkeley singing “White Christmas.” And “God Bless America.””

Napa Valley Register

That indefatigable purveyor of composers, Hershey Felder, applies his singular blend of musical biography, character study and piano virtuosity toward the iconic songwriter. The empathy, showmanship and craft on tap may just be the best match of historical figure and performing artist yet.”

Los Angeles Times

Watch now

“He’s just brilliant!”

Audiences sing the praises of Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin.