Hershey Felder Shines as Polish Composer Fryderyk Chopin at Writers Theatre

Hershey Felder as Monsieur Chopin at Writers Theatre Photo courtesy of Writers Theatre
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If you’ve seen Hershey Felder in his many portrayals of famous composers like George Gershwin, Irving Berlin or Tchaikovsky, you can always count on an authentic, stellar performance. That’s why I was so excited to see him perform, “Monsieur Chopin, A Play With Music,” making his debut at Writers Theatre in Glencoe.

In “Monsieur Chopin,” Felder transforms himself into the master pianist, bringing to life the brilliant 19th-century Polish composer whose works continue to be played today across the globe. Felder wrote the script as well as designed the opulent Parisian set.

Hershey Felder as Chopin at Writers Theatre. Photo courtesy of Writers Theatre.

The musical is set up as a salon in Paris where students come to learn from him as he plays his famous works, a Mazurka reminiscent of Polish folk music and dance as well as polonaise, ballads, and etudes.

With humor and charm, Felder tells Fryderyk Chopin’s somewhat tragic story and engages the audience by allowing them to ask questions and engage with the character.

We discover Chopin’s personal life and his complex relationship with George Sand (the pen name adopted by French author Lucile Aurore Dupin de Francueil) and her daughter, Solange.

Chopin also had a difficult, love-hate relationship with his contemporary, Franz List.

In between the drama, he plays 14 beautiful and enduring selections from the composer’s work on a solo piano, creating a well-integrated performance of a man and his music.

Skillfully directed by Joel Zwick, the show moves along at a quick pace, running an hour and 45 minutes without intermission.

Felder does not perform often in Chicago, so this is a rare opportunity to experience his brilliance on stage.

“Monsieur Chopin, A Play With Music” runs through May 12 at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe. For tickets, call 847-242-6000 or visit writerstheatre.org.

Hershey Felder as Chopin at Writers Theatre. Photo courtesy of Writers Theatre.


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