By Michael Gioia
07 Mar 2013
Trevor Hay directs the Chicago premiere, which follows tryout productions in Los Angeles and San Diego.
An American Story features an original book and score by Felder — who draws upon the songs of composer Stephen Foster — and is performed with a live orchestra.
Here's how the work is billed: "Set in New York City in 1932, 90-year old Dr. Charles Leale tells his true story as he travels back in time and recounts the events that changed his life forever 67 years prior. Felder stars as 'Dr. Leale,' the 23-year-old unknown Union Army medic who was the first individual to reach the presidential box at Ford's Theatre on the night President Lincoln was shot. Per the request of Mrs. Lincoln, Dr. Leale cared for the President throughout his final hours. An American Story is based on Dr. Leale's account, 'Lincoln's Last Hours,' as well as his original report from 1865, which created an international sensation when it was discovered amongst Lincoln’s papers in Washington, D.C. in June 2012."
Felder is known to Chicago audiences for his productions of George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven as I Knew Him, Maestro: Leonard Bernstein and The Great American Songbook Sing-Along. Producing An American Story at Chicago's Royal George Theatre allows Felder to recreate elements of Ford's Theatre in the auditorium itself.
Following this Chicago premiere, Felder will present a series of new productions at The Royal George Theatre: Jasper Reese' I Found My Horn, an import from the London stage starring Jonathan Guy Lewis and directed by Harry Burton; The Pianist of Willesden Lane, starring pianist and storyteller Mona Golabek; and Lem, a new musical about fathers and sons created and presented by Felder and starring Christopher Lemmon.
Other members of the American Story creative team include David Buess and Hay (scenic design), Erik Carstensen (sound design), Abigail Caywood (costume design), Matt Marsden (scenic construction), Chris Rynne (lighting design) and Greg Sowizdrzal and Andrew Wilder (projection design).
The Royal George Theatre is located at 1641 North Halsted in Chicago, IL. For more information and tickets, call (312) 988-9000 or visit RoyalGeorgeTheatre.com.