About the show

Hershey Felder ('Maestro') returns to 59E59 for another solo show exploring the life of a legendary composer.

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'Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin' brings the man behind the iconic music to life in an evening reflecting Berlin's remarkable journey from child immigrant to America's most beloved and prolific songwriter, and featuring the some of the composer's most popular and enduring songs including "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Always," "Blue Skies," "God Bless America," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "There's No Business Like Show Business," and "White Christmas."

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Chicago Critic

for a previous production "This current bio/musical is Felder’s tour de force...He grabs us and carries us through the life of his subject with depth and panache. Felder has the rare gift of making subject immensely empathetic...Felder deftly plays many characters in Berlin’s life as he moves from a young vigorous lad to a 100-year-old man...Felder is at the top of his theatrical game! This is his finest one person show, don’t miss it." Full Review

The Mercury News

for a previous production "Few embody the spirit of Irving Berlin’s classic show tunes quite like Hershey Felder...If this show isn’t quite as deeply developed theatrically as some of his other solos, he’s such a charming performer that a few creaky bits hardly matter...The historical anecdotes are telling, the songs are unforgettable, and his Ethel Merman imitation is a hoot...Like all of Felder’s shows, there are moments here that will put a tear in your eye and a song in your heart at the same time." Full Review

Theatre Eddys Blogspot

for a previous production "Felder becomes Irving Berlin as a century of his life and of American history unfolds before us in songs and stories galore...The insights we gain of Berlin are by the dozens as the evening progresses...When at the piano as Berlin, Mr. Felder’s fingers’ fly lightly across the keyboard with speed and spark while his voice often floats in dreamy melodic ease...To be entertained while also learning so much history...that is a gift." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production "It doesn’t take long to figure out Felder is going to make this bio-play fun. His writing is smart, yes, but more, his delivery is animated, expressive, and perfectly nuanced. As he slips easily into and out of other characters it becomes apparent that a good deal of the enjoyment comes from Felder’s pitch-perfect timing. There are jokes and witticisms...Thank you, Irving Berlin, and thank you, Hershey Felder, for sharing him with us so caringly." Full Review

Boston Globe

for a previous production "An affectionate portrait of Berlin...In crafting this crowd-pleasing solo show about Berlin’s life and career, Felder and director Trevor Hay are not bashful about pulling — make that yanking — the heartstrings. But even the sentimental moments are palatable, since they’re consistent with the man under consideration...The prevailing mood...is one of communal warmth, reflecting the populist gifts of composer and performer alike." Full Review

Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "There’s a subtext to the script that gives it an unusual resonance beyond just a 'behind the music' story, though it’s quite entertaining on that level...Still photos and video designed by Andrew Wilder and Lawrence Siefert are seamlessly integrated into the storytelling to provide additional historical context...A marvelous history lesson as well as an entertaining and moving show. Like all good history lessons, it has resonance for the present." Full Review

San Diego Union-Tribune

for a previous production "Felder’s well-written and well-designed show is chock full of surprising and poignant moments...What’s interesting is his unearthing of little-known gems Berlin wrote as a teenager...And there are some eye-opening stories behind some of his best-known hits...Berlin and Felder are a bit of perfect marriage. Like Berlin, Felder is a showman, storyteller, entrepreneur, and Jewish immigrant who has found a large and devoted audience in America." Full Review


for a previous production "Enriching, humorous, and replete with most of the brilliant Berlin tunes...There is much to be learned about Irving Berlin through Felder's eyes...Felder's odyssey of Irving Berlin's life and career is chock full of precious facts and memories...Once again Felder, under Trevor Hay's loving direction, envelops himself in his characterization and has a ball, breaking the fourth wall and playing it full-out to the audience." Full Review

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

for a previous production "A gifted (and well trained) musician in his own right, Felder makes liberal use of both the onstage piano and his own gifts of imitation...Felder has done his homework, and there’s something for everyone to learn, imparted in an utterly engaging manner. The audience is even invited to sing along from time to time. Hay is back to direct, and the show plays out on a simple but effective apartment set with two huge picture windows effectively used for outside atmosphere and/or projections." Full Review

Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "Adroitly directed...Felder-as-Berlin recounts the story of his life, tragedies and triumphs alike, which in turns cues up the songs...The results are richly entertaining and ultimately touching, though not without some issues. Repetitions in tone and text could stand a few trims...The empathy, showmanship and craft on tap may just be the best match of historical figure and performing artist yet in this franchise." Full Review

Cast & Creatives (9)