With over 1500 published songs to consider (232 hitting Top 10 charts and 25 reaching Number One) ranging from universal classics such as “White Christmas,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Easter Parade,” and even “God Bless America,” how can anyone successfully collapse Irving Berlin’s 101 years of life into just ninety minutes? Anyone cannot; but for the man who has traveled the globe doing the same for the likes of Gershwin, Chopin, Bernstein, and Beethoven, winnowing down Berlin’s life into a fascinating kaleidoscope of stories, characters, and of course songs – all of which he performs himself – seems on the surface to be a cinch. TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has struck gold in presenting the regional premiere of Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, with the solo performer writing the book to tell the story of Berlin’s lyrics and music. If the packed opening night audience is any indication of what each night’s house will be between now and the closing on Valentine’s Day, nothing short of a month-long love affair between Mr. Felder and Bay Area audiences is in store (continuing one begun on the stage of Berkeley Repertory Theatre in the summers of 2012 and 2013).
For my full review of this outstanding show, please follow this link to Talkin’ Broadway: http://www.talkinbroadway.com/page/regional/sanjose/sj21.html