Mom Theatre Blogger: The Heidi Chronicles: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
I adore playwright Wendy Wasserstein, and was hugely saddened by her untimely passing at age 55. She was a “later” single mom of a beloved daughter named Lucy, and I would have loved to profile her for MotherhoodLater.com.
So, when I heard that The Heidi Chronicles was coming to Broadway, I couldn’t wait to see it. I wasn’t disappointed. The play was originally produced by Playwrights Horizons in 1988, moved to Broadway, and then won the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Hull-Warriner Award, and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
The play introduces us to Heidi Holland as an awkward, yet highly intellectual high school student, who attends a school dance with a man-hungry girlfriend where she meets two men who play pivotal roles, for better or worse, in her life as the years go on. One of them, wise-talking Scoop Rosenbaum (Jason Biggs) becomes a love interest and publisher, and Peter Patrone (Bryce Pinkham) becomes her saucy BGF (Best Gay Friend) and a doctor. Their respective relationships with each other and others take various twists and turns that shape the many choices each makes. Heidi is a feminist and art historian, and while she fights to maintain her identify, she comes to understand that whatever path is chosen, there are disappointments and sacrifices made, and nothing comes with a guarantee, even if women get what they anticipate life should offer.
Can women have it all? Is there such a thing? Heidi’s friends start out with certain aspirations, only to ultimately marry, have kids, and trade in their professional goals for a suburban existence. Many women pose these same questions today, especially some later moms who might have delayed motherhood in order to build up satisfying career credentials. How would Heidi (and Wendy) respond now? If only we could know.
Featured in the show are Golden Globe-winner and six-time Emmy Award-nominee Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men,” “Top of the Lake,” Speed-the-Plow), Emmy Award-nominee Jason Biggs (“Orange Is The New Black,” American Pie), Tony Award-nominee Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), and Tracee Chimo (Lips Together, Teeth Apart, “Orange Is The New Black,” Bad Jews).
Moss is a natural in the title role. She’s strong, playful and tender when she needs to be. Her lengthy opening speech in Act II is both emotional and packs a punch. Biggs and Pinkham are well cast, and the supporting players, though appealing, play multiple roles (which sometimes feels odd), but they do their best with the more superficial nature of their characters. The actors include Ali Ahn as Susan Johnston, Leighton Bryan as Jill/Debbie/Lisa, Elise Kibler as Becky/Clara/Denise, and Andy Truschinski as Chris Boxer/Mark/Waiter/Ray.
Tony Award-winner Pam MacKinnon (Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park) directs. The creative team includes scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Jessica Pabst, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Jill BC Du Boff, projection design by Peter Nigrini, and hair and make-up design by Leah J. Loukas.
Tickets are on sale and available for purchase at Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200. They are also sold at the box office of the Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street).