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New Jukebox Musical Tells Story of Record Producer, Songwriter Through His Songs

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The music of the late Bert Berns lives on again in the new jukebox musical "Piece of My Heart." NY1's Frank DiLella filed the following report.

You know the music. Now, get to know the man behind the music.

The new jukebox musical "Piece of My Heart" tells the story of the late Bert Berns, the record producer and songwriter behind such notable tunes like "Twist and Shout," "Hang on Sloopy" and, of course, "Piece of My Heart."

The show is the brainchild of two of Berns' children, Brett and Cassandra.

"We were in L.A. and trying to figure out how we were going to bring our father back to the forefront of the history of music," Cassandra says.

"So we sat around and sort of realized that the songs were autobiographical and that they told his story," Brett says.

Helping to tell Berns' story on stage is actor Zak Resnick.

"He represents someone who just never got his due, and he deserves it," Resnick says.

The show takes place in both the past and present and is shown through the eyes of Jessie, a fictional character that is a compilation of Berns' actual children. Veteran theater actress Linda Hart plays Berns' widow, Ilene.

"That he was classically trained, that he went to Cuba to study Latin rhythms, got involved with Castro," Hart says. "You know, it's such a colorful and crazy life."

Director/choreographer Denis Jones is at the helm of the project. He says if you think you know Berns' body of work, think again.

"There are the hits. There are the "Hang on Sloopys," the "Twist and Shouts," the "Here Come The Nights," the songs that people really know and are so much about a part of our catalog. But there's so much of Bert's music that is virtually unknown," Jones says. "So we've kind of combined those two types of songs together to create a score."

To hear some of your favorite tunes from the '60s and then some, be sure to check out "Piece of My Heart," now playing at The Pershing Square Signature Center.

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