SAN DIEGO – Sept. 16, 2014 – San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) announces the extension of the critically-acclaimed production of “Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” adapted and directed by Hershey Felder, based on the book “The Children of Willesden Lane” by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. An additional 12 performances have been added to the schedule, and the show must close Oct. 12.
“It is so wonderful to be able to bring Mona and ‘Pianist’ home to the city where all of its artwork originated, to the city where we had the first public reading at University of San Diego in 2011, and where all the artists involved make their home,” says Felder. “San Diego REP has been a most welcoming host theatre, and it is thrilling to see audiences from all over the county cheering for Mona and her mesmerizing story-telling and piano-playing every night. It’s just terrific to be ‘home’ after playing all over the nation, and to be so warmly received.”
Sam Woodhouse, co-founder and artistic director, San Diego REP, says the audience reaction to the ‘Pianist’ has been thrilling and astonishing, “We are thrilled because, as theatre artists, it gives us great joy to see San Diego experience the true story of a young woman who held on to her art and music in order to survive. We are thrilled at the artistry of adapter/director Hershey Felder and performer Mona Golabek bring to the Lyceum Stage,” explains Woodhouse. “At every performance, you can literally hear a pin drop in the theatre one moment as Mona tells this extraordinary story, and in the next moment the room is filled with the glorious sound of Mona playing the Steinway grand piano. I have never heard so many theatregoers say, ‘This is the best show I have ever seen.’”
About “The Pianist of Willesden Lane”
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 Jura 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 Golabek’s true family story – a story of music, family survival, and hope. “Mona Golabek The Pianist of Willesden Lane” makes its San Diego premiere after critically acclaimed sold out runs in New York, Chicago, Boston, Berkeley, and Los Angeles.
About Mona Golabek
American concert pianist Mona Golabek (Lisa Jura) has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center, and Royal Festival Hall. She is a Grammy nominee, winner of the Young Concert Artists Award, Avery Fisher Career Grant, and has been the subject of several documentaries including “Concerto for Mona” with conductor Zubin Mehta. Her recordings include “Carnival of the Animals” and “Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite” featuring Meryl Streep, both recorded with Golabek’s sister, Renee Golabek-Kaye. The sisters were taught by their mother, Lisa Jura, who is the subject of Golabek’s acclaimed book, “The Children of Willesden Lane.” 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, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Annenberg Foundation, she created educational resources, which, with her book, have been adopted into school curricula across America.
About Hershey Felder
Hershey Felder created and performed “George Gershwin Alone,” which played on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre, in the West End at the Duchess Theatre, and in theatres around the country including Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His “Composers Sonata 1999-2014” series consists of “George Gershwin Alone,” “Monsieur Chopin,” “Beethoven, As I Knew Him,” “Maestro: Leonard Bernstein,” and Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in “Rock Star” – have been presented at dozens of theatres across the U.S. and around the world, including a command performance of “Monsieur Chopin” for the Polish Ambassador to the United States. “George Gershwin Alone” is the 2007 winner of Best Musical and Best Actor in the Los Angeles Ovation Awards. The production was also a worldwide live broadcast. Felder’s 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” As director, 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.” 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.
About San Diego REPertory Theatre
San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. We promote a more inclusive community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region. Founded in 1976, San Diego REPertory Theatre is downtown San Diego’s resident theatre, promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive political and social values. The company produces and hosts over 300 events and performances year-round on its three stages at the Lyceum Theatre. Since moving to the Lyceum, the REP has produced 45 main stage productions by Latino playwrights, and more than 40 world premieres. The company has received more than 200 awards for artistic excellence from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, Patté Theatre Awards, NAACP, Backstage West, Dramalogue, and StageSceneLA. In 2005, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle presented the REP with the Craig Noel Award “For 30 Years of Artistic Dedication to Downtown and Diversity.” San Diego REPertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. To learn more about San Diego REPertory Theatre, to purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit www.sdrep.org. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Calendar Listing for
“Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane”
Based on the Book
“The Children of Willesden Lane”
by Mona Golabek & Lee Cohen
Adapted and Directed by Hershey Felder
Dates: Through Oct. 12, 2014
Performances are Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m