Mona Golabek Stars in THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE
The Segal Centre is proud to present the stirring and inspiring Hershey Felder Presents production of The Pianist of Willesden Lane in the Sylvan Adams Theatre from September 8 to 29, 2019. The show stars internationally-acclaimed storyteller and concert pianist Mona Golabek as she recounts her own mother's tale of hope and survival during the Second World War. The production is adapted and directed by Montrealer and Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre veteran Hershey Felder, and is based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival by Golabek and Lee Cohen.
Set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitz, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the inspirational story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who is dreaming about her concert debut at Vienna's storied Musikverein concert hall. However, with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything changes for Lisa, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream.
With three daughters and only one passage to safety on the Kindertransport, the "children's train" that rescued thousands of European children by bringing them to England, Lisa's mother and father are confronted with a choice. Lisa is selected out of her sisters, separated from her family, and embarks on a moving journey as she strives to keep herself and her goals alive.
Performing live on a Steinway concert piano, Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek plays some of the world's most beloved music from great composers like Debussy, Bach, Grieg, Beethoven, and Chopin, and shares her mother's riveting story of perseverance and survival. The Pianist of Willesden Lane is infused with hope and invokes the life-affirming power of music. The production makes its Montreal debut after critically acclaimed, sold-out runs in New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, and London.
"I'm thrilled to finally have internationally-acclaimed pianist and actor Hershey Felder back in his hometown for the Montreal premiere of this remarkable production. Showcasing the signature style that made him such a star, Mona Golabek's awe-inspiring talent, and her mother's heart-wrenching tale, this production is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Artistic and Executive Director Lisa Rubin.
Mona Golabek is the daughter of Lisa Jura, a concert pianist born in Vienna, Austria, who came to England as a young teenage refugee in 1938 as part of the Kindertransport rescue operation. Her father, Michel Golabek, was a French resistance fighter who received the Croix de Guerre. Mona's grandparents died at Auschwitz.
Inspired and taught by her mother, Mona herself became a concert pianist. With appearances at the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center, Royal Festival Hall, with major conductors and orchestras worldwide, the Grammy nominee and prolific recording artist has been the subject of several documentaries including Concerto for Mona with conductor Zubin Mehta.
Her mother is the subject of Ms. Golabek's acclaimed book, The Children of Willesden Lane. The book, now in its 24th printing, has been translated and published in eight languages. It inspired this production, which debuted at The Geffen Playhouse in 2012, and has been acclaimed by critics and audiences across America and Europe, with sold-out theatrical runs in New York and London. Ms. Golabek has received Best Actress Nominations from the New York Drama Critics Circle and Los Angeles Drama Critics.
In 2003, Ms. Golabek founded the Hold On To Your Music Foundation. With the help of the Milken Family Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Annenberg Foundation, she created educational resources for the book that have been adopted into school curricula across America. To date, more than 400,000 students and families have experienced the WILLESDEN READ - the educational mission, spearheaded by the non-profit, that is devoted to spreading the message of her mother's story.
Hershey Felder has played over 5,000 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world's most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. American Theatre Magazine has said, "Hershey Felder is in a category all his own." His shows include: George Gershwin Alone (Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre, West End's Duchess Theatre); Monsieur Chopin; Beethoven; Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro (named to Time Magazine's 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals list); Franz Liszt in Musik; Lincoln: An American Story; Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin; Our Great Tchaikovsky; and Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story, featuring the music of Claude Debussy. Composition projects include a new musical based on the award-winning book Out on a Ledge by Eva Libitzky. Mr. Felder has operated a full-service production company since 2001. He has been a scholar-in-residence at Harvard University's Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, the first female Prime Minister of Canada.
Tickets are on sale now at 514.739.7944 or at www.segalcentre.org.