Before The Beatles told the world to ‘shake it up, baby’ or The McCoys asked Sloopy to ‘hang on,’ one man dreamed about being known. In the 1960s, Bert Berns was one of the most successful songwriters of his time, producing 51 hits in just 7 years. At the age of 38, Bert Berns died at the height of his career, leaving behind his children, his legend, and music that would live on forever. Piece of My Heart tells Bert’s triumphant and tragic story through the eyes of Jessie, the daughter he never knew. Experience what Rolling Stone calls “one of the great untold stories of rock and roll.” This world premiere musical pulls you into a journey of discovery told through his chart-topping hits (and some rare gems) including “Twist and Shout,” “I Want Candy,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and the immortal title song, “Piece of My Heart.” Meet the man you never knew through the music you’ve loved for years.
Production History »
Piece of My Heart has been developed over the past decade in and around New York City, including at two of New York’s leading not-for-profit theatre companies – New York Theatre Workshop (RENT) and New York Stage and Film (Hamilton). The musical premiered Off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center during the summer of 2014, where the limited engagement played 100 performances and was extended by popular demand.
The creative team completed new work following the widely acclaimed Off-Broadway production, and marquee producers Steven and Maureen Van Zandt, Paul Shaffer and Joe Grano joined the project. The producers of Piece of My Heart released the hit film BANG! The Bert Berns Story, and Bert was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
Who is Bert Berns? »
Bert Berns was one of the great originals of the golden age of rhythm and blues. He first flourished as a staff producer at Atlantic Records, but Berns quickly developed into one of the leading record men of his day. He produced historic rhythm and blues records such as “Cry To Me” by Solomon Burke, “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters, and “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers. Songs of his such as “Twist and Shout,” “Hang On Sloopy,” and “Piece of My Heart” have become the bedrock of modern music, recorded by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Otis Redding, among many others. As head of his own record label, Bang Records, he signed and supervised the first solo records by Neil Diamond and Van Morrison. Born and raised in the Bronx, Berns suffered rheumatic fever as a teenager — an early death sentence in those pre-open heart surgery days. He died at age 38 on December 30, 1967, at the height of his career. But the music of Bert Berns never died. His songs have been consistently covered by the biggest names in the music business, featured in movie soundtracks, and have inspired many imitations and tributes. Bert Berns was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
Want More? »
Read the acclaimed Bert Berns biography, Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues, written by award-winning journalist and best-selling author Joel Selvin, published by Counterpoint Press.
See the documentary film BANG! The Bert Berns Story starring Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Van Morrison and Solomon Burke.
To learn more about Bert Berns, visit www.BertBerns.com
1. Who is Bert Berns?
Bert Berns was one of the great originals of the golden age of rhythm and blues. He first flourished as a staff producer at Atlantic Records, but Berns quickly developed into one of the leading record men of his day. He produced historic rhythm and blues records such as “Cry To Me” by Solomon Burke, “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters, and “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers. Songs of his such as “Twist and Shout,” “Hang On Sloopy,” and “Piece of My Heart” have become the bedrock of modern music, recorded by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Otis Redding, among many others. As head of his own record label, Bang Records, he signed and supervised the first solo records by Neil Diamond and Van Morrison. Born and raised in the Bronx, Berns suffered rheumatic fever as a teenager– an early death sentence in those pre-open heart surgery days. He died at age 38 on December 30, 1967, at the height of his career. But the music of Bert Berns never died. His songs have been consistently covered by the biggest names in the music business, featured in movie soundtracks, and have inspired many imitations and tributes. Bert Berns was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
2. Is there an age limit?
Piece of My Heart is appropriate for ages 11 and up. Children under the age of four are not permitted in the theatre.
3. What is the running time?
Two hours and ten minutes, with one intermission.
4. Is there a cast recording of the show?
A cast recording has not been recorded yet. Stay tuned for more information.
5. How can I contact Piece of My Heart?
Call (646) 684-4514.
6. How can I receive more information about the show?
1. Why is it so important to tell the story of Bert Berns?
CASSANDRA: Our dad was one of the greatest songwriters and record producers of the twentieth century, yet few have ever heard his name. And his short but spectacular life is not only the greatest untold story of rock and roll, but perhaps one of the greatest of them all. We long ago realized that only through the telling of his dramatic life story would he be recognized for his epochal body of work.
2. What made you decide to tell the story as a musical?
BRETT: The life story of Bert Berns is as fascinating as any work of fiction. And his body of work is largely autobiographical. The convergence of these two forces made for a unique musical vision which allowed us to bring my father back to life through the ultimate art form of musical theater.
3. What have been some of the challenges of telling your father's life story as a musical?
BRETT: The Bert Berns story is vast and complicated – it took biographer Joel Selvin nearly 400 pages to tell it properly in his new book Here Comes The Night. This being a musical where the songs tell the story, we were able to overcome the most difficult challenge presented to any bio-musical and create a truly transformative work of art.
4. How does the character of Jessie represent your own journey of discovery?
CASSANDRA: Jessie is an amalgamation of my brothers and I, and is representative of our quest to learn who our father was and the long effort to champion his legacy. Knowing he would die young, our father would say “my children will know me through my music.” Jessie’s journey of discovery is a dramatization of our own long search for clues to the heart and soul of Bert Berns.
5. How has your father’s story inspired you?
BRETT: The Bert Berns story is inspirational on so many levels. His is an example of extraordinary vision, courage and perseverance. Of respect, collaboration and humility. And of living life with passion and love – as if every day might be your last.
6. Who were some of the great artists that Bert collaborated with?
BRETT: Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Solomon Burke, Ben E. King, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Page, Freddie Scott, Garnet Mimms, Patti LaBelle, Barbara Lewis, Lavern Baker, Esther Phillips, Tammy Montgomery, Erma Franklin, Cissy Houston, Lulu, Tami Lynn, The Isley Brothers, The Drifters, The Exciters, The McCoys, The Strangeloves, The Kingsmen, The Jarmels, Hoagy Lands, King Curtis, Jimmy Radcliffe, Gene Pitney, Arsenio Rodriguez, Betty Harris – the list goes on and on.
7. Do you have a favorite Bert Berns song?
CASSANDRA: There’s a song in the musical called “I’ll Take Good Care of You” that has always spoken to me. It’s a beautiful and deeply soulful song that he wrote before I was born, but feels all these years later as if it could have been written for me.
Using Uber’s free iPhone/Android/Blackberry 7 app, you can request a pickup and a car driven by a professional driver will show up in minutes. Your credit card is billed directly for your trip and there’s no need to tip, so you won’t need to carry cash. You can even see the car coming towards you on a map!
Offer: New Users receive a free ride (up to $40) to or from Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story
To get $40 off your ride:
1) Download the free Uber iPhone/Android/Blackberry 7 app (or sign up at http://get.uber.com/go/POMHRT)
2) Enter your information in the Uber app and promo code POMHRT when you sign up.
3) Request a ride 5 – 15 minutes before you need one. $40 will be applied towards your first ride on uberX, UberBLACK, or UberSUV*
*Excludes uberT, expires 9/1/14, US only.
West Riverside Garage
Use main entrance at 560 W. 43rd St. (between 10th & 11th Avenues)
Custom Offer: $15 for 5 Hours (additional $10 for SUVs and oversized vehicles).
Show your Piece of My Heart ticket stub to the parking attendant as you are leaving the garage.*
*If you exceed the 5 hour time limit, standard rates apply. Available on a first come, first serve basis (based on spot availability).
Online Offer: Follow the below link to reserve a spot for up to 10 hours for $18 (additional $7 for SUVs and oversized vehicles).
ICON PARKING SYSTEMS
Discount parking for Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story is available at Icon Parking garages located near The Pershing Square Signature Center.
BIG DADDY’S RESTAURANT
Gramercy Park: 239 Park Avenue South
Upper East Side: 1596 2nd Avenue
Upper West Side: 2454 Broadway
Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, New Yorkers were in need of an old-school classic deli. A place to share good times. Hear great tunes. And, of course, feast on time-tested diner favorites any day of the week.
Since 1969, Big Daddy’s filled the gaping hole in stomachs everywhere, by giving this great city an authentic, hip restaurant where massive burgers, crispy tots, and thick milkshakes reign supreme.
Show your Piece of My Heart ticket stub at any Big Daddy’s location for 15% off your check.
THE BITTER END
147 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
Established in 1961, The Bitter End is the oldest rock and roll club in New York City. The classic red brick stage backdrop and intimate vibe make this historic venue almost as iconic as its headliners. For over 50 years, our audiences have been blown away by legendary artists like Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, and thousands more.
414 West 42nd Street
“Where the legend of Josephine Baker lives on, this theatrical bistro is a delight!”
–The New York Times
Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or beer with dinner when you present your Piece of My Heart theater ticket.
ELLEN’S STARDUST DINER
New York, NY 10019
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is home of the world famous singing waitstaff, The Stardusters, many of whom have performed on Broadway or are destined to shortly. Zak Resnick who stars in Piece Of My Heart is in fact a former Starduster.
Our 1950’s diner themed restaurant is filled with nostalgic memorabilia. The menu is eclectic with many classic diner favorites (burgers & milkshakes) as well as many other more updated items.
So join us at Ellen’s Stardust Diner where you can enjoy the best free show on Broadway!
We are offering all customers presenting tickets from Piece Of My Heart a 10% off discount when they dine with us.
Hard Rock Cafe New York
New York, NY 10036
Visit Hard Rock Cafe and explore our new MADE FRESH MENU, where fresh ingredients set the beat and inspired recipes bring everything to life.
Dive into our HICKORY SMOKED COMBO, featuring juicy, fork-tender chicken, basted with smokey barbeque sauce…. and the fall-off-the bone, hickory-smoked ribs, slow-cooked, in house.
Or, try the new FIESTA BURGER, topped with fresh guacamole, pico-de-gallo & fiery jalapeño salsa. All on a toasted brioche bun. Cooked to order. Fresh every day….
It Tastes as good as it Sounds. This is Hard Rock.
Show your Piece of My Heart ticket stub at Hard Rock Cafe New York for Front of Line access plus 10% off food & non alcoholic beverages.
Kava Cafe – MiMA Location
470 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
$15 for any Salad, Sandwich or Bowl of soup, along with your choice of a glass of house wine or draught beer when you show your Piece of My Heart ticket stub.*
*Offer does not include tax or gratuity.
Two Boots Hell’s Kitchen
625 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Two Boots was created in NYC’s East Village in 1987 by two indie filmmakers who loved pizza, beer and all things New Orleans (the “boots” refer to the geographical shapes of Italy and Louisiana!). Wherever we go, we try to bring our family-friendly service, funky folk art and deep commitment to the community.
Show your Piece of My Heart ticket stub at Two Boots Hell’s Kitchen location and receive 20% off of your bill.
West Bank Cafe
407 W. 42nd Street
The West Bank Cafe, a theatre district favorite since 1978, invites you to enjoy their comfortable atmosphere, fine contemporary American food and award-winning wine list.
Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with your entrée when you present your Piece Of My Heart ticket stub.
YOTEL New York
570 Tenth Avenue (at West 42nd Street)
Receive up to 15% off your overnight accommodations at Yotel*
*Discount rate is subject to change based on availability, dates, stay pattern and demand of the NYC Market.
MAD MEN TOUR
Channel your inner Betty or Don Draper — if only for a day — with the Mad Men Walking Tour. Put on your favorite full-skirted frock or three-piece suit for a two-hour lap of locations frequented by the characters from the AMC drama. Your tour guide will reveal facts about Mad Men and the history of the NYC ad industry as you meander through show hotspots and maintain hydration, Mad Men-style, at one of the cast’s favorite watering holes.
We are offering all customers from Piece Of My Heart a 15% off discount when they buy tickets online with the code: travel
For more information, please visit MadMenTour.com
Harboring Hearts provides support and resources to heart patients and their families during the critical time of treatment. We seek to ease the financial and emotional burdens placed on individuals, families, or caregivers — whether traveling from afar or remaining close to home — during this challenging time.
For more information, please visit HarboringHearts.org
For promotions inquiries, please contact
The Pekoe Group