You can’t say the Westport Country Playhouse isn’t timely.
The most recent production — “Thousand Pines” — was a provocative look at gun violence, through its effect on 3 families.
Now comes “The Pianist of Willesden Lane.” It’s an encore performance, thanks to raves before.
The pianist — Grammy-nominated Mona Golabek — tells the gripping, true tale of her mother. A piano prodigy herself, whose dreams were threatened in 1938 by looming war, she flees Vienna for England on the Kindertransport.
Golabek describes it all, while interweaving music of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, even a bit of Gershwin.
The elegant, beautiful show is also crucially important. It comes at a time of rising anti-Semitism worldwide, and just weeks after the murder of 11 congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“The Pianist of Willesden Lane” should be seen by audiences of all ages. But on Sunday, December 16, the Playhouse will be filled with young people.
The 3 p.m. production will be followed by age-appropriate group discussions led by local Holocaust survivors. The goal is to educate children about that horrible time in a sensitive way, stressing the importance of standing up to bigotry and hatred, with the power of hope.
Monique Lions Greenspan’s mother survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. She knows first hand the incredible strength, optimism and gratefulness that Holocaust survivors possess.
“Their stories provide invaluable lessons,” she says. “I feel a deep sense of obligation to make our community aware of this opportunity for our children — and adults too — to bear witness to and learn from their experiences.”
(The recommended age for this show is 10 and older. Click here for tickets and more information on the December 16 performance. Click here for tickets and more information on the December 5-22 run. The program is sponsored by Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, Jewish Federation Association for Connecticut, Holocaust Child Survivors of CT and the Anti-Defamation League Connecticut.)