Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) announced today that it is one of a select group of U.S. arts organizations participating in the live stream event, Hershey Felder: Beethoven, Live from Florence. Proceeds from this live event will support DSM’s mission to deliver the spirit of Broadway to North Texas audiences through educational programs and community outreach initiatives. Hershey Felder: Beethoven tickets are on sale beginning tomorrow, Thursday, July 2 at 12 noon.
Tickets are $55 per household and include access to the live stream performance plus an additional 72 hours of on-demand viewing of a video recording of the live stream, available beginning one hour after the live broadcast ends. Tickets are available exclusively online at DallasSummerMusicals.org. After purchase, patrons will receive a link and password to view the live stream.
“We are thrilled to participate in this live performance by my friend Hershey Felder. He is truly an incredible entertainer who brings historic composers to life through his one-of-a-kind combination of musical and acting prowess. You will think Beethoven has come back to life!” said Ken Novice, president of Dallas Summer Musicals. “DSM has been unable to present musical theater for a few months. Joining Hershey Felder: Beethoven on July 12 not only gives our patrons a much-desired theatrical experience, it also provides a new revenue source to DSM that allows us to further our community and educational outreach.”
Following the success of Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin: Live from Florence, a live streaming event in May from Felder’s residence in Florence, Italy, which raised significant funds for 13 U.S. theaters and arts organizations, actor, playwright and pianist Hershey Felder has created a new arts broadcasting company, Hershey Felder Presents – Live from Florence. The collaboration unites Felder with Florentine cinema group Montagni Audiovisivi, the internationally recognized English language magazine The Florentine, and American broadcaster Rich Flier, to produce high quality streaming arts programming for international audiences, both for the period while theaters remain closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and beyond.
This new arts broadcasting company will next present Hershey Felder: Beethoven. The live streaming event features the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, text by Felder, and is based on the original stage play directed by Joel Zwick. It will stream at 7 PM CST on Sunday, July 12, 2020. As with Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, this production will benefit national U.S. theaters and arts organizations. Felder will also donate a portion of the proceeds to the Penumbra Theater Company in St. Paul, MN, to support the work of Black theater artists.
In the tradition of his popular after-performance audience encore, Felder has created the Hershey Felder Presents Arts Prize Competition, in honor of Beethoven’s 250th birth year. This prize of $25,000 will be awarded to one of five artist finalists submitting “anything Beethoven” as inspiration for their video presentation. The five finalists will be presented at the completion of Hershey Felder: Beethoven. Viewers will be eligible to vote, with the winner announced one hour after the completion of voting. All competition information is available here.
Hershey Felder: Beethoven is based on Memories of Beethoven: Out of the House of Black-Robed Spaniards, a first-hand account by Dr. Gerhard von Breuning. (‘Schwarzspanierhaus,’ or House of Black-Robed Spaniards, was the name of Beethoven’s final residence in Vienna, Austria, where he died in 1827). Felder brings Beethoven to life through the eyes of Viennese doctor Breuning, who spent his boyhood by the aging Maestro’s side.
The one-man musical play features some of the composer’s most well-known compositions from his keyboard works such as the “Emperor Concerto” to the 5th and 9th Symphonies, his keyboard sonatas, and chamber music selections. Hershey Felder: Beethoven is produced by Samantha F. Voxakis, Karen Racanelli and Erik Carstensen.
Critically lauded in its world premiere at TheaterWorks Silicon Valley in 2017, the San Jose Mercury News called Hershey Felder: Beethoven a “towering performance about a towering composer.” Significantly, BroadwayWorld reported that Hershey Felder: Beethoven shattered box office records at TheaterWorks, establishing a new record for the 48-year-old company, which has since been maintained. Following the world premiere, the production then broke records at the San Diego Rep (the highest grossing production in its 40-year history), and was the highest grossing production at the Wallis Annenberg in Los Angeles, The Laguna Playhouse and the Leo K. Theater at Seattle Repertory Theater. Felder attributes this success to the tremendous popularity of the world’s greatest composer.
Director Joel Zwick has previously collaborated with Felder on George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin and Maestro Bernstein. Zwick is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prolific directors of episodic television and has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for Broadway touring companies as well as directing the highest-grossing film comedy of all time My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Associate Director is Trevor Hay.
Scenic design is by Hershey Felder. Costume design is from Theatr’ Hall, Paris. Film production is by Montagni Audiovisivi. Live editing is by Stefano DeCarli. Live broadcast by Rich Flier. Sound design and production are by co-Producer Erik Carstensen.