Good theatre is truly magic and delivers you to another time and place of fascinating enjoyment depending on how good the players and playwrights are and that’s how good the magic can be.  
Hershey Felder is truly one of the greatest magicians of all. He brings one of the most prolific American song writers to life on a simple beautiful set with a  grand piano ((by Fielder and Trevor Hay), creative lighting (by Richard Norwood), and subtle actual projections of Al Jolson, Ethel Mermon, Fred Astair and Irving Berlin and his wives (by Andrew Wilder and Lawrence Siefert).
Born Israel Isadore Bollin, Berlin fled from a Russian shtetel in 1888 with his family at the age of 5 after a pogrom attack to Lower East Side of New York. He changed his name to Irving Berlin in his late teens and started churning out super songs like “Alexander’s Rag Time Band”, “I’ll be Loving  You Always”, “God Bless America” (all proceeds from this song go to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America), “Easter Parade”, “White Christmas” (won an Academy Award), “Blue Skies”, “A Pretty Girl Is Like  Melody”, “Putten On The Ritz”, “Cheek to Cheek” (and super hit), “What’ll I Do?”, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and well over a thousand well known songs.
He wrote scores for Broadway shows (some for Ziegfeld Follies and Ethel Merman with “Annie Get Your Gun”) and “Call Me Madam.” He wrote for movies (most of Fred Astaire movies) and shows produced while in the army during the war (“Oh How I Hate to get Up In The Morning”).
Irving Berlin didn’t read music. He played the piano in the F key only. And he would sing his songs to a pianist who would write the tunes he sang. Berlin wrote more than 1500 songs, which included 232 in the top ten hits of the time.
Hershey covers Berlin’s fast moving life with two marriages. The first wife died young, and his second wife was Ellin Mackay, daughter of Clerance Mackay, one of the richest men in America at the time. People objected to the marriage due to social and religious reasons, but it lasted 62 years and resulted in three daughters. Berlin died in 1998 at 101 years old. So many interesting little facts surface with the introduction of the amazing, wonderful songs throughout a terrifically well crafted performance by Felder.
For a mesmerizing, uplifting evening of marvelous music by one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, go and see “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” and be captivated.
“Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin”
Where: Mountain View Center For the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street-Mountain View
Through:  Feb. 14
Running time: 1 hours, 45 minutes no intermission
Tickets: $19-$80
Information: (650) 463-1960 or

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