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Theater Review: Leonard Bernstein is the Geffen's Maestro

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It's kind of a gutsy move, before the start of a one-man show about a real-life person, to play extended video footage of that actual person whom the actor is about to recreate. As soon as the actor shows up, the audience is practically compelled to compare his voice, look and mannerisms with what was just up on the screen. But during the twenty or so minutes when the audience files in to the Geffen Playhouse to see Hershey Felder in Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein, a series of Bernstein's own musical lectures about the art of conducting the great composers is projected on the stage backdrop. The gambit then pays off when Felder appears and begins playing the piano and talking to us. He's not an exact replica of the great man himself, but he effectively adopts his subject's congenially didactic tone and demeanor, which we've just been watching, and runs with it.