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Mitchell Zeidwig Visits Roanoke College


Falisha McCauley – Chief Copy Editor

Friday Sept. 10, in Olin Hall Theatre at 7:30 pm, international acclaimed pianist and comedian Mitchell Zeidwig walked onto the stage, bowed to the crowd, and flipped up his coat tails before sitting down to open his performance with an original piece titled “Birth.”

“Birth” was a slow, gentle piece with long chords and soft tones. Soothing to the ears, almost tempting the listeners to sleep. His next selection was a piece from the compilation of Beethoven and Liszt titled “Fifth Symphony.” The dark feel of Zeidwig’s short chords, and fast, abrupt tones, matched the occasion when his bench crumbled beneath him.

Jumping from the ground he looked at the crowd with horror across his face and tried to pick up his mess. Yet, to no avail. He then attempted to fix his bench, which fell apart again and led to more disarray throughout the performance.

While still on “Fifth Symphony,” he propped the piano lid and climbed inside. While he played, he got trapped under the fallen lid and asked for an audience member’s assistance. The calamity appears to end when another chair is brought out for the second piece.  However, his fingers become covered with pink gook as he pulled the chair closer to the piano. He continued with “Prelude in C Major” with one hand and his nose (yes, he played the other keys with his nose).

During “Ave Maria,” the keys stopped working and he had to the check the oil in the piano, like a vehicle. Jump starting it with a toy piano caused the pianos to switch sounds, with the toy piano being strictly bass and the big piano to play alto. Fiddling with the jumper cable, the ‘engine’ problem was fixed, except now he had no chair.

Zeidwig sat on the floor holding the music between his toes, with his back against the piano, and playing the keys while reaching behind his head. Uncomfortable, he switched to playing on the miniature piano, accompanied with a miniature music book.

Eventually his problems dissipated and he played while performing other acts. One act included balancing a violin on his nose, twirling a sheet music book on his index finger while playing with his other hand. The stage hand brought out a cello, which Zeidwig balanced on his mouth as he played his last piece before intermission.

After intermission, his comedic acts slowed and the performance moved into a more serious tone, with angels singing in the background, and musical cat and mouse. In the end, Zeidwig received a standing ovation, which was graced with an encore and then another standing ovation.