THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE Opens New 5A Season at 59E59 Theaters Tonight
59E59 Theaters will launch the new 5A Season with the New York premiere of THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE, adapted and directed by Hershey Felder, based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival (Grand Central Publishing, 2003) by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. Produced by Geffen Playhouse in association with Eighty-Eight Entertainment and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE begins performances tonight, July 11 for a limited engagement through Sunday, August 24. Opening Night is Tuesday, July 22 at 7 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday - Thursday at 7 PM; Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM; Sunday at 3 PM & 7 PM. Single tickets, which go one sale to 59E59 Members on May 19 and to the general public on May 27, are $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit www.59e59.org.
Set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitz, THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE tells the true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who is dreaming about her concert debut at Vienna's storied Musikverein concert hall. But with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything for Lisa changes, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream.
Featuring some of the world's most beloved piano music played live, THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE is performer Mona Golabek's true family story - a story of music, family survival, and hope. THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE makes its NYC premiere after critically acclaimed, sold out runs in Chicago, Boston, Berkeley, and Los Angeles.
This distinctive play, which blends theater with an intimate piano concerto, THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE was called "elegant" and "heartfelt" by the LA Times. The San Francisco Chronicle said, "Mona Golabek doesn't just tell a great story. Seated at a concert grand, she accompanies her tale with music that infuses, illustrates, amplifies and elevates THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE to make the personal universal and another generation so personal that you can't help but feel your heart swell in response." And the Chicago Tribune said Mona Golabek was "as formidable a pianist as she is a storyteller."
The concert grand piano used during the show is provided by Steinway & Sons.
The design team includes Trevor Hay & Hershey Felder (scenic design); Christopher Rynne (lighting design); Jaclyn Maduff (costume design); Erik Carstensen (sound design); and Andrew Wilder & Greg Sowizdrzal (projection design).
American concert pianist Mona Golabek (performer) has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center, and Royal Festival Hall. She is a Grammy nominee who has been the subject of several documentaries, including Concerto for Mona with conductor Zubin Mehta. Her syndicated radio program, The Romantic Hours, combines music with poetry. Her recordings include Carnival of the Animals and Ravel's Mother Goose Suite featuring Meryl Streep, both recorded with Mona's sister, Renee Golabek-Kaye. Both daughters were taught by their mother, Lisa Jura, who is the subject of Mona's acclaimed book, The Children of Willesden Lane. Mona founded Hold On To Your Music, a foundation devoted to spreading the message of the power of music. With the help of the Milken Family Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Annenberg Foundation, she created educational resources which, with her book, have been adopted into school curricula across America.
Hershey Felder (Director/Adaptor). Broadway, London's West End: George Gershwin Alone (Helen Hayes Theatre, Duchess Theatre). Composers Sonata 1999 -2014 - George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven As I Knew Him, Maestro Bernstein, Franz Liszt in Musik - at dozens of theaters across the U.S. and around the world. Command Performance of Monsieur Chopin for the Polish Ambassador to the United States. Winner of 2007 Los Angeles Ovation Awards, Best Musical and Best Actor for George Gershwin Alone. Compositions include Aliyah, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Fairytale, a musical; Les Anges de Paris, Suite for Violin and Piano; Song Settings; Saltimbanques for Piano and Orchestra; Etudes Thematiques for Piano; An American Story for Actor and Orchestra. Worldwide live broadcasts, George Gershwin Alone. As director, Mr. Felder premiered Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the Geffen Playhouse in April 2012 and recently presented the world premiere of Chris Lemmon in Jack Lemmon Returns. Mr. Felder has been a Scholar in Residence at Harvard University's Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada.