3 Hershey Felder Shows, Live From Florence

Hershey Felder as Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem in Felder’s “Before Fiddler”

The Wallis, Laguna Playhouse and San Diego Repertory present historically inspired musical events.

Actor, playwright and pianist Hershey Felder presents the world premieres of three of his acclaimed shows as a benefit for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, San Diego Repertory Theatre and Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. The performances are live-streamed from Florence, Italy.

Felder depicts Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem in Before Fiddler, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. through Feb. 14; Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini in Puccini Mar. 14 at 5 p.m. through Mar. 21; and Russian composer-pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff in Anna & Sergei May 16 at 5 p.m. through May 23. 

Aleichem’s works inspired the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof; Before Fiddler also features musical performances by the Florence-based Klezmer ensemble Klezmerata Fiorentina. 

Puccini centers on the composer’s scandalous life—notably how the actual women in his life affected the female characters he created for the stage—and includes music from the operas La Bohème, Tosca and Turandot.

Before Fiddler and Puccini will be filmed live on location in the places where the events actually took place. 

Anna & Sergei is set as a memory play in the Beverly Hills home in which Rachmaninoff died. It tells of a strange meeting between the composer and Anna Anderson, who claimed to be the Princess Anastasia, sole surviving member of the Romanov Dynasty.

The three Southern California theaters have had long-running associations with Felder. Previous shows have depicted the composers Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Debussy and Liszt and American greats George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein. 

Programs can be viewed on Smart TV, computer, smartphone or tablet. “Live From Florence” tickets are $55 per program per household: through the Wallis at TheWallis.org/HFP, 310.746.4000 and Tickets@TheWallis.org; San Diego Rep at SDRep.org, 619.544.1000 and boxoffice@sdrep.org; and Laguna Playhouse at LagunaPlayhouse.com.

The Wallis and Laguna Playhouse also offer a World Premiere Pass ($148.50) including all three programs. A Before Fiddler VIP Package ($180) at the Wallis and San Diego Rep adds a live lunch-time Zoom Q&A with Felder on Feb. 11 as well as on-demand access to Hershey Felder Presents: Backstory, about the making of Felder’s three plays focusing on American composers, Feb. 5-21. 

Hershey has been a scholar-in-residence at the Harvard University department of music and is married to Kim Campbell, the first female prime minister of Canada.

Photo courtesy Hershey Felder.

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