Heidi: Then, Now and Forever

(Photo by Joan Marcus)

I first saw the original Heidi Chronicles in 1989 when it won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award for best play. I found it very witty and entertaining, as I do with all of Wendy Wasserstein's work. The play goes across time from 1965 through the late 1980's in 5 - 7 year increments and Wasserstein writes very pointed and specific characters, so I was curious if a revival would work in 2015. When I learned that Elizabeth Moss is playing Heidi and the supporting cast includes Tracee Chimo, Jason Biggs and the outstanding Bryce Pinkham I contacted Pam MacKinnon who directed an impressive 2012 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I spoke with MacKinnon and asked her if millennials will understand Heidi and if the play is still relevant today. "It's a deeply personal play," said MacKinnon. "It's a play about a small group of friends that spans their lives from ages 16 - 40 - with Heidi at the center - and how they go through time together. Its chapters in their lives that chronicles everything from politics to sexual awakenings, something we all experience, no matter who we are or where we're from."

I didn't grow up in Heidi's world or share her friends growing up, but I experienced all of the emotional connections Wasserstein intended throughout the show. "Sometimes with writing, if you make it specific enough it will actually become universal," said MacKinnon.

Wendy Wasserstein's plays are always smart and funny and she writes about nostalgia, friends and change as well as any playwright. MacKinnon has assembled an impressive group of actors who deliver Wasserstein's message with ease and charm and the material still resonates as much now as it did in 1989.
(The Heidi Chronicles opened at The Music Box Theatre on March 19th 2015)