|Photo by Jenny Anderson/O & M|
Featuring a book by Daniel Goldfarb and direction and choreography by Denis Jones, Piece of My Heart — one of Berns' most well-known songs — began previews June 25.
The cast includes Zak Resnick (Mamma Mia!) as Bert Berns; Drama Desk nominee Leslie Kritzer (Elf) as Jessie, the fictional daughter of Berns who is determined to uncover her father's past; Theatre World Award winner Linda Hart (Catch Me If You Can) as Berns' wife, Ilene; Joseph Siravo (The Light in the Piazza) as Wazzel; Bryan Fenkart (Memphis) as Young Wazzel; Tony Award nominee de'Adre Aziza (Passing Strange) as Candace; Derrick Baskin (Memphis) as Hoagy; and Teal Wicks (Jekyll & Hyde) as Young Ilene.
The ensemble includes Carleigh Bettiol, Teresa Gattison, Shonica Gooden, Sydney James Harcourt, Harris Milgrim, Michael Millan, Gabrielle Ruiz, Amos Wolff, Jessica McRoberts, Ralph Meitzler, Heather Parcells and Mark Zeisler.
Berns was born in New York in 1929 and died of a heart attack at 38 years old. He made 51 pop-chart singles in seven years and became one of the most successful songwriters of the 1960s. Read the Playbill.com feature that examines the life and legacy of pop songwriter Bert Berns.
Piece of My Heart, according to press notes, "tells his remarkable story, once dubbed by Rolling Stone 'one of the great untold stories of rock and roll,' through his hit songs, which include 'Twist and Shout,' 'Tell Him,' 'I Want Candy,' 'Hang On Sloopy,' 'Cry, Baby' and many more."
Zak Resnick: "Here Comes the Night." It's the Act I finale and a total dream song to sing every night. A total feel-good moment.
Zak Resnick: "Look Away." I don't understand why this song isn't more well-known — it's so beautiful! Also, the orchestral arrangement in the show is to die for.
Leslie Kritzer: "I'll Take Good Care of You." Beautiful, classic love ballad. Every night when I hear Zak and Teal sing it, it gets me every time!
Leslie Kritzer: "Heart Be Still." The first time I heard this song sung in rehearsal I just wept… A beautiful gospel style song with so much depth and emotion. Funny enough, it follows my previous favorite song in the show, so the two together just ruin me! I cry like a baby.
Teal Wicks: "Cry to Me." This has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it on the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack. That soundtrack was my jam back in the day, and I would put it on every time I had to clean the house.
Teal Wicks: "Heart Be Still." I just can't believe I have never heard this song until this show. It is such a beautiful gospel song, and it breaks my heart in the most wonderful way in the show every night.
de'Adre Aziza: "Show Me Your Monkey." Silly and fun. Way ahead of his time — pre- "Bus Stop," "Electric Slide," "Macarena" and "Wobble Baby"!
de'Adre Aziza: "I'll Take Good Care of You." The best mantra to have in a relationship. It moves me every night.
Bryan Fenkart: "Cry to Me." Primarily because I get to sing it.
Bryan Fenkart: "Tell Him." Primarily because I get to sing it.
Derrick Baskin: "I Want Candy." There's just no dignity nowadays when it comes to saying "I like you" or "I'm attracted to you" in today's songs… Perfect example of simplicity without vulgarity.
Derrick Baskin: "Look Away." Perfect example of beautiful melodies orchestrally against not-so-beautiful emotions. Fire and Ice.
Joe Siravo: "I'll Take Good Care of You." I love listening to Zak and Teal sing this love duet. Their voices and spirits blend in such beautiful harmony that I find very comforting.
Joe Siravo: "I'll Be a Liar." What can you say about Linda Hart doing "Liar?" Witnessing Linda as she delivers that song knocks me out. She is such a force of nature that I stand in the stage-left wing every night and just marvel at her.
Joe Siravo: "Cry Baby." What a perfect combination of lyric and melody. With the powerful harmonies that Linda, Leslie and Teal bring to that song, how can you not be moved?