You may not know the name Bert Berns, but you definitely know his music!
The legendary songwriter is responsible for such iconic hits as Twist & Shout and Piece Of My Heart.
And, now, some of Berns' best songs form the heart of a new Off-Broadway musical about his life, Piece Of My Heart.
The show is satisfying but could benefit from some major changes, if it has aspirations of a Broadway run.
Berns was not only a gifted songwriter, but he was also the head of his own record label and a brilliant producer. Unfortunately, this show ONLY highlights the songs he wrote. But it would greatly benefit from the inclusion of some of these other hits he didn't write but was involved with, like Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl or Under The Boardwalk by The Drifters, both of which he produced.
As it is now, the show feels like it has too much filler and not enough killer. It just can't compete with the catalogue of mega hits that is Beautiful or Motown.
Or, if it will remain featuring only the songs Berns wrote, then Piece Of My Heart would benefit a lot from some major trimming. It could be a lot more effective as a one-act musical.
Also, the arrangements of the songs did not do them justice. Twist & Shout never twisted nor shouted!
And the book had too many sensationalized moments. Tone it down!
What makes Beautiful and Motown so effective is that they're simple stories with a lot of heart.
Sometimes less is more!
Thankfully, Piece Of My Heart features a great cast and with some work it can be a real contender!