Sunday, January 24, 2010

A heartfelt valentine wrapped up in stories and song

Laura and I saw Gershwin Alone at the Laguna Playhouse today. Researched, written and performed by Hershey Felder, this theatrical biography had me mesmerized.

The balance of fact and emotion is particularly well done in this show. The combination of passion, genius and history infuses the character of a legend whose life was cut short at 38 (what is it with these phenomenal composers and their truncated lives?). Through Felder's poignantly rendered lens, George Gershwin tells us who he was, what drove him and what it was like to plug tunes in the early part of the previous century. Along with his brother Ira and a few other collaborators, Gershwin wrote over one thousand songs for stage and screen. Over one thousand. Sadly, he died before he could see the extent of his legacy.

Here's to a glimpse of history. Let's hope Felder continues to develop these heartspun pieces (I understand his Chopin performance is equally stunning, and even more romantic) so we'll have a more intimate sense of the genius that informs our musical past.

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