Two of the Best in the Neighbourhood is a backstage account of the creation and continued life of the smash hit play 2 Pianos 4 Hands. (This volume also includes the full script of the play.) With contributions from the principal players of this story, including many from co-creator Ted Dykstra, Greenblatt takes us from the genesis of the idea to the blockbuster cross-Canada tour and to productions in the US, England, and Japan. A highly personal and subjective tale filled with anecdotes that span almost three decades, Two of the Best in the Neighbourhood is a glimpse into a fascinating chapter of Canadian theatre history.
2 Pianos 4 Hands tells the story of Ted and Richard, who grow up as “piano nerds,” dealing with pushy parents, eccentric teachers, hours of repetitive practice, stage fright, the agony of competitions and exams, and the dream of greatness. As they mature, they become more aware of the gap between the merely very good and the great, and they come to the humbling realization that although concert stardom may be out of reach, they just might be two of the best piano players in the neighbourhood–and that in itself is worth celebrating.
Reviews for 2 Pianos 4 Hands
“Richard Greenblatt and Ted Dykstra are nothing short of amazing. Their timing is as impeccable able as their technique. They took me back down memory lane. They took every pianist in the audience and were spot on which made it more and more hilarious. I loved it and was so impressed at the incredulous speed. They are very funny but dead serious about keeping up with their technique, well, cause they have. Bravo Tutti gentlemen.” — JEAN STILWELL, THE NEW CLASSICAL FM
“More than just music, it’s a whole touching story… The body language of the Marx Brothers and the impertinence of ‘That 70s Show’.” — HADRIEN VOLLE, CBC/RADIO-CANADA
“Creative storytelling that tickles the ivories, the funny bone and the senses. 2 Pianos 4 Hands proves that physical comedy can be the perfect accompaniment to a clever narrative and beautiful music.” — BILL COULTER, CP24
“5 stars out of 5. 2 Pianos 4 Hands (2P4H) is a Canadian classic. It feels just as brilliant and fresh now as when it premiered in 1996… Though 2P4H is about piano playing, the show will appeal to anyone who has striven for excellence in any discipline.” — CHRIS HOILE, STAGE-DOOR.COM
About the Authors
Richard Greenblatt was born and raised in Montreal and trained as an actor at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. He returned to Canada in the mid-70s and has been working as an actor, director, writer, musician and educator ever since. His work has taken him across the country, throughout the U.S., and in Europe and Japan. The vast majority of his extensive directing work has been with the development and premieres of original scripts, many of which were for Theatre for Young Audiences. His handbook for scriptwork, Text and Context: The Operative Word, was published in 2021. Richard has written and performed two solo shows (Soft Pedalling and Letters from Lehrer), co-authored two plays with Diane Flacks (Sibs and Care), and co-authored the immensely successful 2 Pianos 4 Hands with Ted Dykstra, which they performed almost 1,000 times and has been seen around the world in hundreds of other productions. He has taught acting and directing at most of the top training institutions in Canada and is the recipient of numerous Dora and Chalmers Awards. Richard lives in Toronto.
Ted Dykstra is an actor, director, and playwright, and the co-founder, with wife Diana Bentley, of Toronto’s indie theatre The Coal Mine. Ted is the co-author (with Richard Greenblatt) of the acclaimed and hugely popular play 2 Pianos, 4 Hands. His musical Evangeline was produced in Charlottetown, PEI for two seasons, as well at the Citadel Theatre, and currently he is composing music for Dion, a rock opera based on The Bacchae. Ted has performed on every major stage in Canada, as well as in film and television. He has directed award-winning shows across Canada, including at Soulpepper Theatre, of which he was a founding member. He has received six Dora Mavor Moore Awards, as well as Gemini, Merritt, Sterling, and Chalmers Awards, and has many award nominations for acting, directing, composing, writing, and producing. For him, all of the above pales compared to being the proud father of Theo, Rosie and Henry.