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    Our Great Tchaikovsky Ignites LGBT Audience Feedback for Hershey Felder

    Although known throughout the world and hailed as Russia’s national composer for his beautiful ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, to the outrageous 1812 Overture and brilliant symphonic works, Piotr Tchaikovsky lived under a shadow. He was in perpetual fear of persecution for his sexuality during Czarist Russian times. His story is brought to life through music and characterization in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s production Our Great Tchaikovsky, performed by acclaimed piano virtuoso, actor, playwright Hershey Felder at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, now through February 11.

    This latest work by Felder, one of the Bay Area’s most admired performers, was launched in 2016 with a hit run in San Diego, and has gone on to play to acclaim in Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Chicago, and most recently in London, capturing critical raves and sold-out houses.

    As always for Felder, audience response is gratifying, but his portrayal of Tchaikovsky has struck a chord particularly with LGBT audiences. The performer has received an outpouring of gratitude, as well as personal notes from gay fans that recount their own fears of coming out, thoughts on how the political climate is again shifting, and more. One correspondent described her youthful fears of being sent for “reprogramming,” calling the show a must-see for the next generation of LBGT audiences who may view Our Great Tchaikovsky as a cautionary tale of how changing political winds can affect gay rights.

    Well-known to Bay Area audiences, Felder has been called “a seductive portraitist, compelling storyteller, and superb concert pianist,” by American Theatre Magazine. This current work was hailed as “fascinating, an absorbing and poignant study” by The Stage UK, while What’s On Stage London lauded Felder as “astoundingly talented,” “magnetic,” and “sensationally good,” noting, “It is a rare privilege to see such extraordinary talent live. Hugely interesting, a very special piece of theatre. Well worth seeing.”

    An actor, pianist, writer, director, composer, conductor, and producer, Felder has conjured up the spirits of George Gershwin, Frederic Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, and Irving Berlin. Felder’s solo shows have been seen across America—at the Geffen Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, San Diego Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe Theatre, American Repertory Theater, and Cleveland Playhouse, as well as long runs at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre and engagements at New York’s Town Hall, 59E59, and the Streicker Center. Throughout the past 20 years, he has given more than 4,500 performances. Felder has become an enormous Bay Area favorite; audiences packed TheatreWorks’ 2016 regional premiere of Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, setting box office records that were shattered in 2017 by Hershey Felder, Beethoven.

    The newest work marks Felder’s third appearance with the Silicon Valley-based regional theatre. In Our Great Tchaikovsky, he once again brings to life a musical talent, in this case inhabiting Tchaikovsky, whose sexuality was suppressed in his homeland, and is still denied by modern Russia. In this searing and musical portrait, audiences learn of the dramatic turns in the composer’s life, as well as his mysterious sudden death.

    Our Great Tchaikovsky is directed by Trevor Hay, who helmed the world premieres of An American Story for Actor and Orchestra, Abe Lincoln’s Piano, Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik, and Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin and was Associate Director for Mona Golabek’s The Pianist of Willesden Lane. In a career now spanning 32 years, Hay has contributed to more than 80 presentations, including the Broadway productions of Jack O’Brien’s Damn Yankees, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Twyla Tharpe’s The Times They Are A-Changin’. Included in his 23 seasons at San Diego’s Old Globe were eleven seasons of the Summer Shakespeare Festival Repertory, as well as work on Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, directed by Sam Gold, and Felder’s George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, and Maestro Bernstein.

    The show will be presented by TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View, a beautiful 600-seat theatre that boasts free underground parking for patrons, and is set amongst the main thoroughfare’s many bistros. It is also easily accessible by Caltrain.

    With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. It is currently presenting its 48th season, which will continue with the regional co-premiere of the Obie Award-winning Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau (March 7–April 1), followed by the Tony Award-winning musical The Bridges of Madison County (April 4–29), and the California premiere of FINKS (June 6–July 1), a stunning comic drama about actors faced with blacklisting or ratting out their fellow performers during the 1960s Red Scare.

    For tickets ($45-$105) to Our Great Tchaikovsky and more information, call 650-463-1960 or visit