Hershey Felder to Helm THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE, Starring Mona Golabek at Laguna Playhouse, 5/29-6/9

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Hershey Felder to Helm THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE, Starring Mona Golabek at Laguna Playhouse, 5/29-6/9

The Laguna Playouse will present Hershey Felder's newest production, award-winning concert pianist Mona Golabek starring in the one-woman show, based on a true story, THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE. Adapted and directed by audience favorite Hershey Felder and based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane by Golabek and Lee Cohen, this music-filled evening recounts the personal story of Ms. Golabek's mother in Nazi-occupied Europe. THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE will perform for two weeks only beginning Wednesday, May 29 through Sunday, June 9 at the Laguna Playhouse, Moulton Theatre, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd. in Laguna Beach.

Set in Vienna in 1938 and London during the Blitzkrieg, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who is dreaming about her concert debut at the storied Musikverein concert hall. But with the issuing of new ordinances under 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, chronicling hope, survival and how through our darkest times, music has the power to help us survive.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST

MONA GOLABEK (Performer) American concert pianist Mona Golabek has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center and Royal Festival Hall. She is a Grammy nominee and has received numerous awards. She has been the subject of several documentaries including Concerto for Mona with conductor Zubin Mehta. Ms. Golabek's 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 Ms. Golabek's sister, Renee Golabek-Kaye. Both daughters were taught by their mother, Lisa Jura, who is the subject of Ms. Golabek's acclaimed book, The Children of Willesden Lane. Ms. Golabek 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 and the Annenberg Foundation, she created educational resources which, with her book, have been adopted into school curricula across America.

Hershey Felder (Adaptation/Director) Broadway, London's West End: George Gershwin Alone (Helen Hayes Theatre, Duchess Theatre). Regional and international appearances of "Composers Sonata" (1999-2013) - George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven, As I Knew Him, and Maestro: Leonard Bernstein - include Old Globe Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Geffen Playhouse, Laguna Playhouse, Ford's Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, American Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, Ravinia Festival, Chicago's Royal George Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Prince Music Theatre, The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Uijeongbu Theatre Festival (South Korea) and many others, as well as a command performance of Monsieur Chopin for the Polish Ambassador to the United States, Polish Embassy, Washington. 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, poetry by Vachel Lindsay; Saltimbanques for Piano and Orchestra; Etudes Thematiques for Piano; LINCOLN: An American Story, for actor and orchestra.

Recordings include Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre, Back from Broadway, George Gershwin Alone and Monsieur Chopin for the WFMT Radio Network Recordings label, Beethoven As I Knew Him and LINCOLN: An American Story for the Eighty Eight Entertainment label. Worldwide live broadcasts, George Gershwin Alone, July 2005 and May 2011. Current projects include a new musical, An American Story for Actor & Orchestra, recorded with Chicago's Ars Viva Symphony conducted by Alan Heatherington. 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.

The Scenic Design is by David Buess and Trevor Hay. The Lighting Design is by Chris Rynne. The Sound Design is by Erik Carstensen. The Projection Design is by Greg Sowizdrzal and Andrew Wilder.

THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE will perform from Wednesday, May 29 through Sunday, June 9 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. Performances are Tuesday thru Friday evenings at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm and Sundays at 2pm & 7pm (with a special added performance on Thursday, May 30 at 2pm).

Ticket prices range from $40 - $70 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787) x 1. Group and school discount tickets are available by calling Kathy Bonner at (949) 497-ARTS (2787) x 229. The box office is open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 8 pm on performance days).

For more information on all shows and programming visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com. Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

Founded in 1920, The Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating theatres on the West Coast. In 2011, The Laguna Playhouse was honored at the Laguna Spirit Awards and received The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Premiere Business of the Year award. More than 100,000 theatergoers annually attend performances at the Laguna Playhouse. Its continued artistic excellence, audience popularity and critical acclaim have helped make The Playhouse one of Southern California's most important nonprofit theatre companies. The Playhouse has produced national tours of The Belle of Amherst (with Julie Harris) and Copenhagen, and has presented many world, national and regional premieres.

Over the years, the Laguna Playhouse has garnered numerous awards from LA Drama Critics Circle, NAACP, Backstage, OC Weekly, and many more, and was named Best Arts Organization by ArtsOC. Notable performers that have performed at The Laguna Playhouse include Bette Davis, Harrison Ford, Charles Durning, Marlo Thomas, Roddy McDowell, Rita Rudner, Cloris Leachman, and Sally Struthers.

The Laguna Playhouse is noted for its Youth Theater Education and Outreach programs. In 1989, its Youth Theater was recognized as "Outstanding Children's Theatre" by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. The theater's touring production, TheatreReach, brings books to life on stage for elementary school children throughout southern California and has been recognized by the Orange County Department of Education and Arts Orange County for ' Outstanding' Contributions.

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