Regional Reviews: San Francisco
'S Wonderful Performance of George Gershwin Alone
George Gershwin Alone is a delightful evening of familiar music, with Hershey Felder performing excerpts from a dozen or so of Gershwin's best-known works on piano: Porgy and Bess, American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue and a few of the 1000 songs the composer wrote during his astoundingly productive and short life.
Hershey Felder is a skillful pianist, decent singer, and a fetching storyteller. He moves effortlessly into the biographical elements of Gershwin's life, including using a Jewish-Russian accent that Gershwin's father had. He connects with the genius of the composer through an adroit touch as a concert pianist. He is fresh and engaging with the right mix of theatrically.
The 90-minute show ends with "Rhapsody In Blue," with Felder playing the concert piece with zest. For an encore he invites the audience to sing three of Gershwin's songs. On the night we attended, the audience vigorously sang "I Got Rhythm," "Summertime" and "Embraceable You."
It is a magical and marvelous evening listening to Gershwin's songs with the Gershwin look-alike Hershey Felder convincingly portraying the genius of 20th century music.
George Gershwin Alone plays through July 7th at Berkeley Repertory Theatre Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley. For tickets call 510-647-2949 or visit www.berkeleyrep.com .