2 Pianos, 4 Hands is a new musical worthy of your applause!

New Musical “2 Pianos, 4 Hands” at San Jose Repertory Theatre

evokes standing ovation and audience adulation!!

The San Jose Repertory Theatre is currently presenting an absolutely delightful musical comedy, entitled, 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, that examines the trials and tribulations of growing up as a musician of “great promise” or perhaps even a musical protégé. Certainly, any of my readers who were encouraged, forced, or cajoled into hours of practice with their musical instrument each week will instantly relate to Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt’s very funny and poignant musical.

I remember when I was about 10 years old, hearing my violin instructor telling my mother that I had “great promise” and that I could probably become the “next Wayne Angel”, as I awkwardly screeched and squawked my way through Jacques Offenbach’s Barcarole from "Les Contes d'Hoffmann". Well, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I’ll bet our neighbors were wishing I had taken up piano or some other instrument as my hours of practice droned on. . I loved the music I heard from my classical record collection, but I hated the hours of boring practice and began to wonder if my attempts to follow Angel’s musical suit would ever come to fruition. Fortunately for the neighbors and perhaps the entire world, my aspirations to become a concert violinist were dashed when a friend and I attempted to recreate a sword fighting scene from Warner Brothers (MGM) classic pirate epic, The Sea Hawk ,when I very nearly severed the little finger on my left hand crossing swords with a pair of world war II bayonets.

2 Pianos, 4 Hands begins with a young pianist being told he is “too young to reach the pedals”. Thus begins the musical journey of two young men, Richard (played by Carl J. Danielsen) and Ted (played by Mark Anders) as they take the audience on a wonderful journey as 15 years of musical growth and maturity flows artfully and comically back and forth across the stage in the course of the next 97 minutes.

In the beginning, each actor plays a younger version of himself as the other actor steps into the various roles of parent and instructor. As the boys grow older and mature they encounter their first competitions, rehearsals, festivals and competitions and the relief when they discover that the “brilliant 8 year old protégé” who might have made their awkward ascension very nearly impossible, has moved away!

As the young men mature into adults, the audience experiences their highs and lows, their boredom, their frustrations and social inequities created by the isolationism fostered by the hours of practice required every day. We see the battles that go on between parent and child over the need to practice on one hand and the need to be a well rounded and normal human being and a competent student, all at the same time.

Throughout the entire show, the audience gets to experience some truly grand music by these brilliant and gifted pianists (who in real life are both outstanding actors and musicians) and the absolutely wonderful comedy as these two men play a plethora of characters in rapid succession. It is remarkable how Danielson and Anders can completely change their demeanor, character and personage with voice and mannerisms alone. These two gentlemen are outstanding performers, in every sense!

This musical provides a terrific evening of entertainment for people of all ages, family entertainment that informs and articulates the great challenge of becoming great at anything and demonstrates the discipline necessary to achieve great results and or perfection. At the end of the performance, the entire audience jumped to their feet applauding their approval and appreciation in resounding unison.

The set designed by Scott Weldin, is simple yet elegant, representing two different households, each containing a grand piano where the artists practice their music.

2 Pianos, 4 Hands continues in the San Jose Repertory Theatre Tuesdays through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m and Saturday matinees at 3 p.m., now through Sunday, July 9th. There will be one American Sign Language interpreted performance on Saturday July 8th at 3 p.m.. For tickets or reservations call the box office at (408) 367-7255 or visit their web-site at www.SJRep.com for more information. The theater is located at 101 Paseo de San Antonio, between south 2nd and 3rd streets, in the heart of San Jose. There is free public parking available after 6 p.m. each day in a multistoried garage (at the corner of East San Carlos Avenue, between south 2nd and 3rd streets) adjacent the theatre. On a typical Friday or Saturday evening, it generally takes my wife and I about 45 minutes to drive south on highway 680 (which becomes hwy 280) to the 7th street off ramp, in San Jose, were we exit and drive the short distance to the theater. I have gone to “www.Mapquest.com” on the internet and printed out excellent maps showing clearly where the theater is located and how to get there. I might also suggest that you drive to San Jose earlier on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday and enjoy dinner or lunch at one of the many excellent restaurants in the area before the show. San Jose has done a lot of improvements in the area and it feels very clean and safe for visitors.