Monsieur Chopin is the latest bio-play by Hershey Felder. Felder has fascinated audiences for years with interpretations of different artists such as Leonard Bernstein and Irving Berlin, and his newest play, based on Frédéric François Chopin, will not disappoint!
The show begins with Chopin welcoming the audience to his class. Since he was also a teacher by profession, it is only natural that the play is structured as a class. The play takes place in his Parisian salon around 1848. Chopin enters the elegant stage, designed by Felder, decorated with a grand piano as its main feature and begins his discourse. He tells the audience that music must be felt. It must convey one's heart. If music lacks emotion, it has no depth or resonance. Felder emphasizes this point throughout the show as he skillfully plays Chopin's compositions. He shows the audience moments in the music where his soul is embedded within the chords and notes.
He then shares stories from his childhood, personal life and love for his home country, Poland. This affinity for his home becomes a thoroughline in the play. Poland was the muse for many of his compositions, particularly his first ones, inspired by traditional Polish dances, Polonaises and Mazurkas. As his career progressed, he often referred to his land for inspiration. In addition to Poland, he shares other inspirations behind his compositions, such as his romance with George Sand and the imaginary visions that plagued his mind.
Monsieur Chopin is a tightly structured show with a perfect blend of storytelling and music. Felder skillfully embodies Chopin's persona so much that one is transported to his time. He is charismatic and witty. Felder shines during the Q&A section of the show as well-splendidly, answering questions and interacting with the audience.
Hershey Felder is a master! Monsieur Chopin is a must-see! Try to catch it before it's over.
Check out our interview with Hershey Felder too!
Written and Performed by Hershey Felder
Directed by Joel Zwick
59E59 Theaters (59 E 59th Street, New York)
November 16- December 24
Yani Perez, M.F.A, is a poet, playwright, translator, and educator. Her plays have been presented in various theaters in the United States such as La Mama and Yale University as well as internationally in Bogotá, Colombia. She works at IATI Theater, one of the oldest Latinx theaters in NYC. She is currently working on translations of Latinx artists in hopes of introducing them to English-speaking audiences.