Northeast Times

Ludwig Live! provides big laughs

Lud­wig Live,a cab­aret cre­ated by 5 time Emmy award win­ner, Nancy Holson, The show star­ing, Charles Lind­berg As Lud­wig van Beeth­oven and Kath­rine; Pe­cevich as his as­sist­ant.

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Lud­wig von Beeth­oven was not only a renowned com­poser, but, ac­cord­ing to Broad­way pi­an­ist and award-win­ing cab­aret per­former Charles Lind­berg, he was also one heck of a fun guy.

Well, maybe not fun in the broad­est sense of the word, but the way he comes across as played by Lind­berg in Lud­wig Live!, a new mu­sic­al stage com­edy mak­ing its Phil­adelphia premiere Jan. 12 to 29 at the Kim­mel Cen­ter’s In­nov­a­tion Stu­dio, in­volves him in a pretty funny show.

Cre­ated by Emmy Award-win­ning com­edy writer Nancy Holson, Lud­wig Live! is an ir­rev­er­ent song-filled cab­aret about the fam­ous com­poser. Dressed in a wig, peri­od re­galia and en­sconced be­hind a grand pi­ano, Beeth­oven, a.k.a. Lind­berg, en­ter­tains audi­ences with his swinging new lounge act.

“The ba­sic premise of the show is that Beeth­oven is still alive and de­cides since he nev­er did a cab­aret show be­fore it’s about time he did,” said Lind­berg. “And then, right be­fore the open­ing of his show, he’s had one of his typ­ic­al tan­trums and every­one quits. Ap­par­ently, he had quite a tem­per and didn’t get along with any­body.”

That’s where Kath­er­ine Pe­cevich, his “stage man­ager,” steps in. Dressed in as­sor­ted wigs and cos­tumes, she plays a vari­ety of roles in­clud­ing, among oth­ers, all of Beeth­oven’s girl­friends, Moz­art, Elvis, Na­po­leon, Justin Bieber and Beeth­oven’s moth­er.

“It takes the stage manger to calm him down be­cause he’s al­ways fly­ing off the handle,” said Lind­berg, 53.

Sit­ting at the pi­ano, Lind­berg per­forms Beeth­oven’s “best hits,” as well as those of Jo­hann Strauss, Joseph Haydn, John Phil­lip Sousa and Barry Ma­nilow.

“Throughout the show, Beeth­oven talks about dif­fer­ent com­posers and how he felt about them, so there’s an ex­cess­ive amount of clas­sic­al mu­sic in the show,” Lind­berg ex­plained. “Also, we sort of play it over the top. Beeth­oven him­self be­comes quite a char­ac­ter, and that’s what gives us broad com­edy.”

Over the years, Lind­berg has worn sev­er­al mu­sic­al hats. Start­ing with pi­ano les­sons at the age of 8, he thought he might be­come a mu­sic teach­er, but even­tu­ally wound up play­ing on Broad­way in­stead.

“My first job was play­ing the pi­ano at a coun­try club when I was about 17,” he said. “At col­lege, I stud­ied voice, both be­cause I could sing and the re­quire­ments were much easi­er than for those of pi­ano ma­jors. It all worked out, be­cause by the time I was around 22 or 23, I did my first Broad­way show, play­ing the pi­ano for West Side Story.”

Later he got to per­form with or ac­com­pany such not­able stars of stage and screen as Liza Min­nel­li, Jerry Orbach, Ber­na­dette Peters, Glenn Close, Mickey Rooney and many oth­ers.

Lind­berg has head­lined cab­arets at nightclubs throughout New York City, and has won both the Bis­tro Award (Back­stage magazine) and the Night­life Award for Best En­ter­tain­er in Man­hat­tan.

“The best thing for me about do­ing Lud­wig Live! is that it’s a lot of fun and in­cor­por­ates so much. I’m do­ing the ar­range­ments, the mu­sic­al dir­ec­tion, the act­ing, the singing,” said Lind­berg. “I also en­joy be­ing on stage very much. It’s a blast for me.”

And for those who would like to fol­low in Lind­berg’s foot­steps, the only thing he can of­fer is to “en­joy your­self. This is a very tough busi­ness, and usu­ally the people who do make it are the ones who don’t feel they have a choice to do any­thing else. It’s either this or noth­ing.” ••

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-731-3333. 

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