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Article posted: 1/29/2013 1:20 PM

Elmhurst College celebrates music of Irving Berlin

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Whether it's "White Christmas," "God Bless America," "No Business Like Show Business" or any of his scores of other hits, Irving Berlin's songs are deeply woven into the fabric of American culture.

"I Love a Piano," a lively tribute to Berlin and his music, will be performed beginning Friday, Feb. 1, at Elmhurst College's Mill Theatre.

Directed by Elmhurst College faculty members Amy Lyn McDonald and Scott Uddenberg, "I Love a Piano" spans several decades of American history, from the ragtime era of the early 20th century through the Great Depression and into the optimistic 1950s, and includes dozens of Berlin's most enduring and popular favorites.

Uddenberg said he and McDonald approached the show in two ways: "first, using Berlin's music to tell the stories of Americans in their moment in history; second, through the experience of an Irving Berlin movie, one that would star Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers or Bing Crosby. Berlin had some very special talent connected to his music over his career, and these performers defined how we see and hear his music today. We're trying not to copy any one performer or movie, but to emulate the experience of seeing one of Berlin's films in a stage performance."

"As we have been working through this, we are just taken by the volume of familiar music that is Berlin's -- not so much that we didn't know it was his, but how great the music is," Uddenberg said. "It's been an education and a treat for the students to learn it, and it will be a treat for all audiences."

"I Love a Piano" will take center stage at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2, and Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 7-9; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Mill Theatre, 253 Walter St., Elmhurst.

General admission is $7; $6 for seniors, Elmhurst College faculty and staff; and $5 for students.

For ticket information, call (630) 617-3005 or visit mill@elmhurst.edu.

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