Hershey Felder Brings the Sounds of ‘Our Great Tchaikovsky’ to The Wallis

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was considered one of the most Western sounding composers in Eastern Europe during his lifetime, and this dichotomy keeps him popular throughout the world to this day. Actor and pianist Hershey Felder will display that brilliant musical mixture when his “Our Great Tchaikovsky” makes its LA premiere at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, July 19. Performances will run until Aug. 6.

Called a “time-bending tale of music, politics and one of the world’s most beloved composers” in the advance press, “Our Great Tchaikovsky” is a solo piece featuring the music of the Russian romantic period’s prolific music maker.

The production was directed by Felder’s long-time collaborator Trevor Hay. The book was written by Felder.

Tchaikovsky is best known for writing the timeless ballets “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker.” But the composer also had a surprisingly frightening side. His “1812 Overture” features a cannon as an instrument in the sheet music. One of his many masterworks, “Swan Lake,” was used in the 1930s classic horror films “Dracula” and “Frankenstein.”

Tchaikovsky was 53 years old, and by all accounts healthy, when he conducted the premiere of Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique.” He died nine days later. The cause of his death remains a mystery.

“Our Great Tchaikovsky” had its world debut at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Its next engagement, at Laguna Playhouse, broke box office records and was hailed by critics. The Orange County Register called the production “one of Felder’s most dazzling shows.”

“Hershey’s productions have captivated audiences time and time again, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership by presenting the LA premiere of his latest show,” Paul Crewes, Artistic Director of The Wallis, said in a statement.

Felder’s performance history at the Wallis began 20 years ago with his show “George Gershwin Alone.” The actor/musician says he has done nine productions at the LA theater because “music resonates so beautifully” there.

Felder will also perform a special, one-night-only performance of his “The Great American Songbook Sing-Along,” on Monday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. He will perform music by George and Ira Gershwin,  Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim.

Our Great Tchaikovsky” will play the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts’ Bram Goldsmith Theater from July 19 through Aug. 6.