“Our Great Tchaikovsky” Review – Hersey Felder is Remarkable

Our Great Tchaikovsky

It was a cold, rainy, snowy day on April 15th as I headed to Steppenwolf Theatre to see the Midwest premiere of Hershey Felder’s newest production, Our Great Tchaikovsky. It was a fantastic production and performance. My expectations were high, having seen several previous Felder performances and having a great love of Tchaikovsky’s music, and Our Great Tchaikovsky, exceeded expectations. This play-with-music features the compositions of Tchaikovsky, and is directed by Trevor Hay with a book and performance by Hershey Felder will close on May 13 so get tickets soon.

Hershey Felder plays Tchaikovsky‘s music

For any of you who have seen Hershey Felder’s earlier performances and think you have seen it all- you would be missing a wonderful opportunity if you don’t come to see this production. While the format remains the same, everything else is unique. It is at the Steppenwolf with a stage that is different from the Royal George where performances have taken place over the last fourteen years, and the story is deeper, powerful and compelling. And the music in this story of culture and politics, offers some of the greatest music ever composed played magnificently on piano by Hershey Felder with recorded orchestral accompaniment at times.

Hershey Felder

Felder is simply remarkable as actor/writer/pianist/historian. Creating the world wherein the story takes place was the work of Hershey Felder, Scenic Design; Christopher Ash, Lighting and Projection Design; Abigail Caywood, Costume Design; Erik Carstensen, Sound Design/Production Management; Meghan Maiya, M.A., Historical and Biographical Research; and Erik Barry, Assistant Lighting and Video Design. And so the audience is brought into the world of Russia’s most famous composer, where we learn of his life under an unforgiving regime, and the mystery of his death, nine days after conducting a symphonic premiere in apparently perfect health.

Hershey Felder

A look into Wikipedia can bring up the facts of Tchaikovsky’s life but in to witness these facts in Felder’s presence in an entirely different experience. A very important letter weaves this story together and allows the audience the opportunity to gain a sense of the depth of emotions, the pain, and the intensity of this remarkable artist. And there is the irony of the way in which Tchaikovsky has been and currently is regarded in his homeland, Russia.

 

Felder is simply remarkable as actor/writer/pianist/historian. Creating the world wherein the story takes place was the work of Hershey Felder, Scenic Design; Christopher Ash, Lighting and Projection Design; Abigail Caywood, Costume Design; Erik Carstensen, Sound Design/Production Management; Meghan Maiya, M.A., Historical and Biographical Research; and Erik Barry, Assistant Lighting and Video Design. And so the audience is brought into the world of Russia’s most famous composer, where we learn of his life under an unforgiving regime, and the mystery of his death, nine days after conducting a symphonic premiere in apparently perfect health.

 

Hershey Felder

After Felder takes the audience into his personal interaction with the Russian Government and shares his concern, he takes us into the life of the six-year old Tchaikovsky, who is already a musical genius. As Tchaikovsky’s life unfolds, we are privy to his personal struggles and the people along the way who influence his music, some as inspiration and some who make his music possible by providing needed funds.

Hershey Felder at the piano

The music touched me personally, not only because it was beautiful and moving but because many of the pieces brought personal memories. As a young girl, I was drawn to the Fifth violin concerto and frequently played the recording we had that I found very pleasurable. I was intrigued to learn that this is Tchaikovsky’s most popular work and very emotional. For me the 1812 Overture brings thoughts of Ravinia to mind, but Tchaikovsky disliked it even though it brought him more money than any other work. There is the charm of the Nutcracker and his many ballets. And of his many operas, the favorite, which is also my favorite, is Eugene Onegin, which has some biographical tones. The story concludes with the mystery surrounding Tchaikovsky’s death and a decision for Hershey Felder.

Hershey Felder, aging

Having Hershey Felder back in town is an event to be celebrated. Do yourself a favor, come to Steppenwolf and see, Our Great Tchaikovsky.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Our Great Tchaikovsky

 

 

Performances of Our Great Tchaikovsky are as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Sundays at 3pm and 7:30pm. All tickets are $55. Tickets will be on sale Friday, Feb. 10 at 10am. Please call the Box Office at 312.335.1650 or visit Steppenwolf tickets or the Steppenwolf website.###

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having Hershey Felder back in town is an event to be celebrated. Do

yourself a favor, come to Steppenwolf and see, Our Great Tchaikovsky.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Our Great Tchaikovsky

 

 

Performances of Our Great Tchaikovsky are as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Sundays at 3pm and 7:30pm. All tickets are $55. Tickets will be on sale Friday, Feb. 10 at 10am. Please call the Box Office at 312.335.1650 or visit www.steppenwolf.org/tickets–events/ or www.steppenwolf.org.###

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

’s most popular work and very emotional. For me the 1812 Overture brings thoughts of Ravinia to mind, but Tchaikovsky disliked it even though it brought him more money than any other work. There is the charm of the Nutcracker and his many ballets. And of his many operas, the favorite, which is also my favorite, is Eugene Onegin, which has some biographical tones. And there is more, they mystery of

 

Having Hershey Felder back in town is an event to be celebrated. Do yourself a favor, come to Steppenwolf and see, Our Great Tchaikovsky.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Our Great Tchaikovsky

 

 

Performances of Our Great Tchaikovsky are as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Sundays at 3pm and 7:30pm. All tickets are $55. Tickets will be on sale Friday, Feb. 10 at 10am. Please call the Box Office at 312.335.1650 or visit www.steppenwolf.org/tickets–events/ or www.steppenwolf.org.###

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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