|Photo by Jenny Anderson/O & M|
"I went from giving a piece of my mind to giving a piece of my heart," chuckled de'Adre Aziza during a quick break from the new musical Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story, which opened July 21 at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center.
In the Denis Jones-helmed show, the life and songs of legendary songwriter Bert Berns is explored in a book crafted by Daniel Goldfarb. Aziza, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her 2008 Broadway debut in Passing Strange, portrays Berns' first love Candace Carmichael — an older, wiser and more sophisticated seductress who sweeps him off of his feet. The couple's racial differences are what initially bring them together but also ultimately tear them apart.
True oldies-but-goodies music buffs know of Berns' masterful contributions to rock and roll's canon of hits during the 1960s. The New York City native, who died at the age of 38, created a seemingly endless parade of hit songs including "Twist and Shout," "Tell Him," "I Want Candy," "Hang on Sloopy," "Cry Baby" and "Piece of My Heart" — which became a signature song of Joplin's.
"I know a stankin' rotten fish when I taste one, I don't care how much you bathe it in OldBay," Aziza mused on Facebook while blasting the show's producers for leading the cast and creative team of the show to despair.
"In whose accounting meeting was it decided that a show that lost so much money on Broadway would be just fine off-OFF-east-off Broadway in a day and age where Broadway shows that pull in $800,000 a week or less are sometimes seen as failures? Please explain," the Teaneck, N.J.-reared firebrand continued in an open letter chastising the show's decision makers.
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