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The Heidi Chronicles 

A modern classic performed with passion

Wednesday, Jul 19 2006
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This bittersweet comedy is considered a modern classic for good reason — it's smart, heartfelt, and has deep human resonance. It's Wendy Wasserstein's masterpiece, and one of the few great American plays to emerge from the 1980s (it won the Pulitzer). The Heidi Chronicles follows art historian Heidi Holland through four decades of personal upheaval. Her journey provides an interesting counterpoint to the social and political spirit of the times, whether the revolutionary fervor of the '60s or the confused capitalist compromise of the '80s. Wasserstein, who died on Jan. 30 at age 55, found in Heidi a clear-eyed tour guide through recent history as well as a witty and pleasurable protagonist. The piece takes place in the New York that anyone who's ever loved Woody Allen's movies imagines, in which everyone has the sharp wit and intellect that makes for good company and killer dialogue. Director Brian Katz hones in on the distinctly East Coast rhythms of Wasserstein's language and makes the words dance. The cast is a mixed bag, but even when the technique falters the enthusiasm is obvious. Leah S. Abrams brings an appealing Everywoman charisma to Heidi, David Fierro knocks his Scoop Rosenbaum out of the park, and Fred Pitts has a lovely, moving turn as Heidi's best friend. It's a distinct joy to watch an excellent script performed with passion.

About The Author

Frank Wortham

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