Hershey Felder's hit one-man show about George Gershwin, George Gershwin Alone -- which has been extended several times in Los Angeles -- is planning a two-date national tour, before heading for Broadway. Felder told Playbill On-Line (Sept. 18) that the show will make stops in West Palm Beach and Coral Gables, FL. If all goes well, the play will then proceed to New York, possibly aiming for the Helen Hayes Theatre.
"I've got my eye on the Helen Hayes as do the producers," said Felder, "but it all depends on what happens with Dirty Blonde." The latter Claudia Shear play is currently ensconced in the jewel-box Hayes. Martin Markinson, the owner of the Hayes, is co-producer of George Gershwin Alone, along with Richard Willis.
But, before Felder goes anywhere, he must finish his sell-out run at the Tiffany Theatre, where the production was recently extended yet again, this time to Dec. 18. Gershwin opened back on June 2, and has since sold a half-million dollars in tickets, becoming that rare thing: a Los Angeles commercial theatre hit.
After closing at the Tiffany, Gershwin will make a four-week stand, Jan. 3-28, 2001, at the Cuillo Center in West Palm Beach, and play a weekend of performances at the Coral Gables City Center. A month of preparation and publicity will pass before the show makes it to Gotham.
* The show is directed by Joel Zwick. Felder is the playwright and performer. After doing five years of research on Gershwin, he got the rights from the late composer's estate to develop a solo show. A workshop was held in March, at which the Gershwin heirs were present and gave the actor the go-ahead to perform. Felder, 32, is the first person since George Gershwin's death in 1937 to be allowed to play the composer in a major stage production.
In the show, Felder sits at a piano, playing several Gershwin songs, including parts of "Rhapsody in Blue," "An American in Paris" and "Porgy and Bess." In between numbers, he talks about his childhood, his parents and his siblings Ira, Arthur and Francis. He also discussed where and when songs were composed and offers a peek into how a composer and lyricist work together. "It's a story of an artist," said Felder. "It's very difficult and very demanding. You have to focus all your attention on the role. I keep thinking its going to get easier but it doesn't."
Tiffany Theatre is located at 8532 Sunset Blvd. For tickets and information call (310) 289-2999.