By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The life of composer George Gershwin as seen through the eyes of his lyricist brother Ira Gershwin is the subject of a one-man show to be presented by brooklynOne Productions, a Bay Ridge-based theater company.
“My Brother George,” written and performed by pianist and composer Elliot Sneider, will be presented by brooklynOne Productions on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, June 23, at 5 p.m. at Saint John’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 461 99th St.
Sneider plays Ira Gershwin, who was the lyricist of most of George Gershwin’s timeless classics, including “You Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Lady Be Good,” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” As Ira, Sneider interweaves dialogue and music to draw a portrait of George’s life as one of the most important composers of the early 20th Century. George Gershwin died of a brain tumor in 1937 at the age of 38.
The show also features Sneider performing “Rhapsody in Blue,” one of George Gershwin’s most famous pieces.
Sneider first performed “My Brother George” at the Jewish Community Center in Buffalo in 2012.
“Having Elliot bring his work to New York City and specifically to Brooklyn, the hometown of both Gershwin brothers, is perfect, and we are excited to present his work,” said Anthony Marino, artistic director of brooklynOne Productions.
Sneider in New York as a pianist and composer, including a stint as musical director for singing group, The Rhapsody Players, and as a regular pianist for the Dreamland Orchestra, playing music of the 1920s. The performance of “My Brother George” will also include a reunion of Elliot and the members of The Rhapsody Players, Kiernan Hamilton, Donna Heffernan, John Heffernan, Colleen O’Donnell, Anthony Marino, Eileen Monahan, and Kevin Sweeney, who will serve as guest vocalists.
Sneider, who grew up in Syracuse, has musical influences as wide ranging as Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, Stravinsky, Beethoven, and Phish, according to the biography on his official website. He studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. His music has been heard in concert halls, film festivals, and on the television on the IFC channel and the Style Network. His musical “The Butcher of Plainfield ,”written with playwright Steven Charles Nicholas, was performed at the Actor’s Studio in New York City in April of 2009. For the past seven years he has played with Dreamland Orchestra on Governor’s Island for the annual Jazz Age Dance Party. He currently lives in Arizona.