Set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitzkrieg, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the true and inspirational story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish musician whose dreams are interrupted by the Nazi regime. In this poignant show, Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek performs some of the world’s most stunning music as she shares her mother’s riveting true story of survival. The Pianist of Willesden Lane is infused with hope and invokes the life-affirming power of music. Beloved selections from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and more enhance this captivating story. (Patrick Weishampel, Blankeye TV)
The Pianist of Willesden Lane opened at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in 2012 to wide acclaim. The Los Angeles Times called it an “arresting, deeply affecting triumph” and Golabek was nominated for the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Theatrical Excellence. Since the world premiere, Golabek has performed the show to sold-out houses across the country. It was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, noted for being “deeply affecting.” The San Francisco Chronicle called it an “astonishing tour de force” and the Chicago Tribune called it a "stirring case of art preserving life ... Golabek sitting down at the Steinway piano is enough to make your mouth fall open with a certain wonder at the way of the world.” Most recently, the Londonist hailed it as “deeply moving ... an uplifting story of extraordinary love and endurance told through timeless music that is by turns haunting and joyful, sobering and spellbinding.” The Pianist of Willesden Lane debuted in Portland at The Armory in 2016, playing to sold-out performances during its run, and returned again in 2017.
American concert pianist Mona Golabek 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 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’s father, Michele Golabek, received the Croix de Guerre for his role in the French Resistance. 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. Additional educational partnerships have been formed with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Mashplant and the USC Shoah Foundation — all helping to bring forth the story of Lisa Jura.
Hershey Felder – Adaptor/Director
Hershey Felder, the adaptor and director of The Pianist of Willesden Lane, will be performing Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin at The Armory November 30 through December 30, 2016. Felder also 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 theaters around the country. His Composers Sonata — George Gershwin Alone; Monsieur Chopin; Beethoven, As I Knew Him; Maestro Bernstein; Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in Musik; and Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin — has been presented at dozens of theaters across the U.S. and around the world. Compositions and recordings 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; Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre; Back from Broadway; and An American Story for Actor and Orchestra. He created Eighty-Eight Entertainment in 2001; its newest division, Hershey Felder Presents, continues in the creation of new works of musical theater. He also produced and created scenic design for Taylor Hackford’s Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara.