As of last Friday (July 17), My Coma Dreams, the unique hybrid of jazz and theatrical production by acclaimed pianist and composer Fred Hersch, is now available to stream for free on YouTube.
The production, which premiered in 2011 at Montclair State University in New Jersey, explores the dreams and nightmares that Hersch underwent during a near-death experience in 2008—when the pianist spent two months in a medically induced coma. The production combines Hersch’s original music (performed by an 11-piece ensemble) with a script by writer/director Herschel Garfein and multimedia animation and imagery by Sarah Wickliffe and Eamonn Farrell.
In addition to Hersch and his ensemble, the piece features a lead performance by singer/actor Michael Winther as both Hersch and his partner Scott Morgan.
The show earned considerable critical acclaim and was revived in a 2013 production at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. The streaming performance was taken from that production.
Hersch stresses that the My Coma Dreams video is best experienced with headphones or on stereo speakers.
Watch a 2015 video interview with JazzTimes in which Hersch discusses My Coma Dreams and read Matt R. Lohr’s review of the My Coma Dreams DVD.