The world premiere of Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane has been extended for the final time in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse (with performances now running through September 15, 2012) before hitting the road for a national tour.
Adapted and directed by L.A. audience favorite Hershey Felder and featuring award-winning concert pianist Mona Golabek, this music-filled evening recounts the personal story of Ms. Golabek’s mother in Nazi-occupied Europe. The tour will commence immediately after the closing in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater with runs through June 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas, Boston (Paramount Theatre), Chicago (Royal George Theatre) and the Laguna Playhouse with further dates and venues to be announced.
“The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse has served as a tremendous launching pad to develop and hone this world premiere,” said Hershey Felder. “We are looking forward to bringing this intimate, theatrical event to new audiences across the country.”
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.
The Geffen Playhouse production marks the world premiere of this play, based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. The show features scenic design by David Buess and Trevor Hay, lighting design by Chris Rynne, sound design by Erik Carstensen, projection design by Greg Sowizdrzal and Andrew Wilder, scenic construction by Christian Thorsen, with production manager Trevor Hay and poduction stage manager Gary Breitbach.
Ticket prices currently range from $72 to $77. Tickets are on sale now at the Geffen Playhouse box office, via phone at 310-208-5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.com.
MONA GOLABEK (Performer): American concert pianist Mona Golabek has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center and the Royal Festival Hall alongside major orchestras worldwide. A Grammy nominee, she has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Avery Fisher Prize and the People's Award of the International Chopin Competition, and has been the subject of several PBS television documentaries. Ms. Golabek is the creator and voice of The Romantic Hours, a syndicated radio program which combines classical music with readings of poetry, letters, and stories, and can be heard on 80 stations and XM Satellite Radio. Ms. Golabek and her family are founders of the non-profit, Hold On To Your Music, which spreads the message of the power of the arts, especially music, to embolden the human spirit. In addition, Ms. Golabek and Lee Cohen are award-winning authors of The Children of Willesden Lane, the book upon which The Pianist of Willesden Lane is based.
Hershey Felder (Adaptation/Director): Broadway, London's West End: George Gershwin Alone (Helen Hayes Theatre, Duchess Theatre). Regional and international appearances of “Composers Sonata” (1999-2012) - George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin, Beethoven, As I Knew Him, and Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein - include Old Globe Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, Laguna Playhouse, Ford's Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, American Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, Ravinia Festival, Chicago's Royal George Theatre, The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Uijeongbu Theatre Festival (South Korea) and many others. 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; An American Man 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 An American Man 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 Man, recorded with Chicago's Ars Viva Symphony conducted by Alan Heatherington, which had its staged world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in March 2012. 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 Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts.