Hershey Felder

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Hershey Felder
Born (1968-07-09) July 9, 1968 (age 53)
OccupationPlaywright, actor, pianist
Spouse(s)Kim Campbell[1]

Hershey Felder (born July 9, 1968)[2] is a pianist, actor, and playwright known for his portrayals of classical and American composers on the theatrical stage.

Early life[edit]

Felder was born in Montreal, Canada,[2] to Jacob Felder (born 1929 in Ustrzyki, Poland) and Eva Surek Felder (born 1946 in Budapest, Hungary). He was raised in a Yiddish-speaking home mainly, from age 13, by his widower father.[3]


Felder travelled to Los Angeles in 1994 and worked briefly for the Steven Spielberg Shoah Foundation, now the USC Shoah Foundation, with his knowledge of Yiddish and French interviewing Holocaust survivors to preserve their oral histories on film. The following year, he attended the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland, where he met Helmuth Spryzcer who as a boy was made to whistle Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue to the German guards.[citation needed] This led Felder to create Sing! A Musical Journey about two Holocaust survivors, with Rhapsody in Blue at the conclusion.[4] For nearly two years, Felder focused on the persona and music of George Gershwin, meeting with many of Gershwin's family members, and in 1999 created at Los Angeles Tiffany Theatre, a workshop production of a one-man show, George Gershwin Alone [5][6] that has gone on to play over 40 productions in theatres in the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom and Italy. George Gershwin Alone was followed by Monsieur Chopin (premier Royal George Theatre, Chicago, 2006), Beethoven As I Knew Him (Old Globe Theatre San Diego, 2008).

In 2010, he premiered his one-man play-with-music about Leonard Bernstein, Maestro [7][8][9] at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles. In 2013, Felder received a letter from Russian Theatrical Producers inviting him to portray Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The same month, Russian Duma - Russian Parliament, had passed anti-gay legislation. Since Tchaikovsky is believed to have been homosexual, Felder named his work "Our Great Tchaikovsky", performing it only in the U.S.[10][11]

A 2014 an American Theatre profile referred to Felder as being "in a category all his own".[12] His major portrayals are those of George Gershwin, Frédéric Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Claude Debussy.[13][14] After a storied gestation period of two years, including meetings with many of the Irving Berlin family members, he has given a much-requested dramatic impersonation of the American songwriter Irving Berlin.[15][16][17]

In 2013, Felder directed concert pianist Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane, in his adaptation of her book The Children of Willesden Lane, telling the story of Golabek's mother as an adolescent in the Kindertransport during World War II.[18][19]

As a composer, Felder's works include Noah's Ark, an Opera, Aliyah Concerto on Israeli Themes, as well as Song Settings (the poetry of Vachel Lindsay), Etudes Thematiques, Les Preludes. In September 2010, An American Story was recorded with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra of Chicago.[citation needed]

On May 10, 2020, Felder live-streamed his one-man play Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin from his home in Florence, Italy to selected audiences throughout the United States. The production was a fundraiser for the San Diego Repertory Theatre; along with a dozen other theaters at which Felder performs. On July 12, Felder performed another online benefit of his one-man show Hershey Felder: Beethoven.[20] In 2020 Felder went onto create the broadcast entertainment brand Live From Florence which broadcasts original productions performed and filmed on location for worldwide audiences.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Felder is married to former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell.[22] They share residences in Paris[23] and Florence.[20]

Composer plays[edit]

Felder has written and performed solo in multiple plays of notable composers, as well as other characters amassing over 6000 live performances before the public.[citation needed]

Title Release Date Notes
George Gershwin Alone[5] 1999 Felder's portrayal of pianist George Gershwin began as a Los Angeles workshop
Monsieur Chopin[24] 2005 A musical examination of Chopin
Beethoven[25] 2008 A concert, lecture and dramatized play about Beethoven
Maestro (Leonard Bernstein)[26] 2010 A bio-drama about Leonard Bernstein, first performed at the Geffen Theater in 2010
Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin[27] 2014 A musical biography, character study and piano performance of songwriter Irving Berlin
Our Great Tchaikovsky[28] 2017 The story of Tchaikovsky brought to life through music and characterization
A Paris Love Story[29] 2019 Felder portrays pianist Claude Debussy in Paris.
Anna & Sergei[30] 2021 Felder plays Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, premiering May 16, 2021 (delayed by pandemic).[31]


  • Broadway in Concert (2004)
  • Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre
  • Back from Broadway
  • George Gershwin Alone (2005)
  • Monsieur Chopin (in association with WFMT Radio Network Recordings)
  • Beethoven As I Knew Him
  • An American Story
  • Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin (2018)
  • Our Great Tchaikovsky (2019)
  • Beethoven (2019)


  1. ^ Anderson, Jon (April 7, 2005). "Meet Canada's 'odd couple'". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Broadway World: Hershey Felder. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  3. ^ https://www.ranchosantafereview.com/sdrsf-pianistcomposer-hershey-felder-an-american-story-2013apr04-story.html
  4. ^ Favre, Jeff (November 4, 2019). "Self-Starter: Hershey Felder and George Gershwin Alone". backstage.com. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "George Gershwin Alone". Entertainment Today. June 21, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (June 10, 2013). "'George Gershwin Alone' review: 'S wonderful". www.sfgate.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  7. ^ https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stage-door-maestro-the-tr_b_12284046
  8. ^ https://www.broadwayworld.com/off-broadway/article/BWW-Review-MAESTRO-at-59E59-is-an-Inspired-and-Enthralling-Production-20160912
  9. ^ https://www.broadwayworld.com/cleveland/article/BWW-Reviews-Is-that-Leonard-Bernstein-or-Hershey-Felder-Onstage-at-Cleveland-Play-House-20130724
  10. ^ Jones, Chris (April 18, 2018). "A letter from Russia adds some interesting politics to Hershey Felder's 'Our Great Tchaikovsky'". www.sfgate.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Schultz, Rick (July 25, 2018). "Review: Taking Tchaikovsky out of Russia's closet: Hershey Felder's "Our Great Tchaikovsky" at the Wallis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  12. ^ https://www.americantheatre.org/2014/10/23/performerplaywright-hershey-felders-specialty-conjuring-composers/
  13. ^ Schultz, Rick (May 31, 2019). "Review: Hershey Felder, chameleon of musical characters, slips into Debussy colors". www.latimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  14. ^ Hershey Felder Adds Surprise Character to his Debussy Play. Sam Hurwitt. April 9, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  15. ^ https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-hershey-felder-as-irving-berlin-20141126-story.html[bare URL]
  17. ^ Marks, Ken (September 11, 2018). "Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin". www.newyorker.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  18. ^ Isherwood, Charles (July 22, 2014). "Repertory of Fear and Hope". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  19. ^ Thai, Ian (September 16, 2018). "Review: "The Pianist of Willesden Lane" by Theater J". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Kragen, Pam (June 18, 2020). "Hershey Felder launches year-round 'Live from Florence' theater season". msn entertainment. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  21. ^ "Live from Italy, Hershey Felder tells stories, helps others". AP NEWS. December 17, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  22. ^ Hampson, Sarah (April 12, 2018). "The ex-PM and the piano man". www.theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  23. ^ O'Neil, Peter (April 26, 2008). "At home with Kim Campbell". Canwest News Paris. Calgary Herald. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  24. ^ "Felder's Monsieur Chopin Plays Chicago's Royal George Aug. 30". Playbill. August 4, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "Beethoven, As I Knew Him". Variety. August 26, 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  26. ^ "Review: The ghost of Leonard Bernstein, onscreen and onstage in Hershey Felder's Maestro". Los Angeles Times. August 19, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  27. ^ "Review: Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin at the Geffen Playhouse". Los Angeles Times. November 26, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  28. ^ "Our Great Tchaikovsky Ignites LGBT Audience Feedback for Hershey Felder". San Francisco Bay Times. January 11, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  29. ^ "Review: Hershey Felder, chameleon of musical characters, slips into Debussy colors". LA Times. May 31, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  30. ^ "On Theater: The professional touring companies that will be visiting O.C. in the 2019-20 season". Los Angeles Times. July 29, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  31. ^ "Anna & Sergei - Live from Florence". Laguna Playhouse. Retrieved March 30, 2021.

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