Dec 14


He composed the greatest symphonies ever written. He’s the bridge from classical music to romantic music. He’s the most important musical genius of all time. What’s next for Ludwig van Beethoven? His own nightclub act, of course.

Ludwig Live! was created by 5-time Emmy Award winner Nancy Holson, well known for her hit comedy, The News in Revue, which ran for 15 seasons (1993 to 2007) in the Berkshires, Off Broadway and across the country and in a series of nationally broadcast PBS specials.

You will never hear more inventive laugh out loud lyrics sung to tunes such as Moonlight Sonata, Für Elise, Minuet in G, the Fifth Symphony, Pathetique and the Piano Sonata Number 14 in C Sharp Minor! This is a show for people who appreciate classical music, political satire and pure farce.

As part of our Laugh Out Loud series, The Goodwill Theatre will present LUDWIG LIVE! written by Nancy Holson starring James Higgins and Gillian Hassert on Friday, January 25th at 7 p.m. at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage.

In this hysterically funny 2-person comedy cabaret, the infamously temperamental Immortal Genius holds court at the grand piano and shows off his zany side…crooning his way through his greatest hits.

The premise of the show is the debut of Beethoven’s modern-day cabaret act, but the entire cast and theatre staff except for the stage manager have quit. Beethoven insists that the “show must go on” and coerces the stage manager into playing all the parts. What follows is a hilarious send-up of Beethoven’s life and times, his opinions on today’s politicians, the last 200 years in music, and scores of celebrities past and present, from Mozart and Papa Haydn to Elvis Presley and Sarah Palin.

“If you like Forbidden Broadway, Victor Borge or Saturday Night Live, you will love this. You don’t need to know much about classical music, but if you do, you will love it even more…” says CEO Naima Kradjian.

The show stars New York pianist James Higgins as Beethoven, dressed in period regalia and wearing a gloriously ludicrous wig, masterfully playing and singing from the “best hits” of Beethoven. Higgins is a musical director and pianist living in New York City. In his 20-year plus career, he has performed in over 80 countries on all 7 continents (including a performance in the middle of the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica!). His broad range of experiences and abilities allow him an extraordinary versatility, making him as comfortable and proficient in musical theatre, classical music and opera, as with pop, rock and jazz. Working in regional theatres and operas houses across North America, he has conducted over 75 musicals and operas including Sweeney Todd, Candide, Ragtime, Madama Butterfly, South Pacific, Kiss Me Kate, Vanessa, Evita, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Rocky Horror Show. In 1996, he worked with Tony Award-winners director Martin Charnin (Annie) and orchestrator Doug Besterman (The Producers) on the Broadway-bound Jeanne La Pucelle. From 2002-2005, he was the resident music director and co-executive director of Musical Theatre Southwest in Albuquerque NM, the largest community musical theatre company in the U.S. at the time. In his 3 seasons, he conducted, stage directed and/or produced 20 fully-staged productions, as well as numerous benefits concerts and gala performances. Also a respected accompanist, he has collaborated with instrumentalists and singers from around the world.

The multi-faceted Gillian Hassert plays the suffering stage manager who, in lightning fast wig and costume changes, portrays all of the important people in Beethoven’s life – including his mother, his three girlfriends, his rival Mozart, his mentor Haydn, and about 2 dozen other characters. A native of New Jersey, Gillian Hassert recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Vocal Performance. There she was lucky to make her operatic debut in such roles as La principessa (Suor Angelica) and the Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas). This past summer, she performed in 9 shows with the College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod. Some of her favorite roles included Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, the Old Lady in Candide and the Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone. Most recently she was in the Montclair Operetta Club production of Oliver in which she played Widow Corney. Currently, Gillian is living in the New York area, and, in addition to working on personal cabarets, she is a church musician wiggling her way into the oratorio scene.

For more information on LUDWIG LIVE! please visit

Tickets for LUDWIG LIVE! are $15 for adults and $12 for senior citizens and students. Reservations, and information on all shows, are available by calling the Goodwill Theatre Box Office at (607) 772-2404, ext. 301. You can also purchase tickets on their website: Tickets, if still available, will also be sold at the door, one hour before show time.