5:10 PM CST, January 8, 2013
Hershey Felder, the piano-playing solo performer with a formidable following in Chicago, is returning to the mainstage of the Royal George Theatre with a new show based not on a classical composer, but on the last hours of Abraham Lincoln. And this time, Felder is playing with an orchestra.
Entitled "An American Story for Actor and Orchestra," Felder's new show is to have its official premiere in Chicago (performances begin March 8), following its "preview" shows in San Diego and Los Angeles. Therein, Felder creates the role of Charles August Leale, the Union Army medic who first reached Abraham Lincoln in his box at Ford's Theatre, after the president had been shot. The piece is set in New York in 1932, when Leale was 90 years old. In the show, he recounts this historic event from that vantage point.
The work is based on "Lincoln's Last Hours," the published account by Leale.
The from is quite the departure for Felder, who has penned both book and score. "I'm pushing the envelope a bit," he said.
Felder also said he plans to follow this show with other new works at the Royal George, where he has played many times. Upcoming projects include the London import "I Found My Horn," "The Pianist of Willesden Lane," a piece performed by Mona Golabek about her own mother, and "Lem," a musical piece about the late Jack Lemmon performed by his son, Christopher Lemmon. Dates for those shows have yet to be announced.
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