Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: David Henderson, 860-520-7250


At the train station, Malka, Lisa’s mother tells her,
“Remember what I’ve taught you.
Your music will help you through—
let it be your best friend, Liseleh.
And remember I love you.”


Hartford Stage Presents  Piano Virtuoso Mona Golabek in
The Pianist of Willesden Lane

  Adapted and Directed by Hershey Felder

Mona Golabek
Mona Golabek

HARTFORD, CT — March 10, 2015 — Hartford Stage presents The Pianist of Willesden Lane, starring piano virtuoso Mona Golabek, who performs some of the world’s most beautiful music as she shares her own mother’s riveting story of survival, from March 26 to April 26.

Golabek was taught piano by her mother, Lisa Jura, who, along with Lisa’s mother, Malka, is the subject of the book, “The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival,” by Golabek and Lee Cohen. Director Hershey Felder (George Gershwin Alone) adapted the play from the book. 

Garnering triumphant reviews from across the country since 2012, The Pianist of Willesden Lane includes pieces by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Liszt, Grieg and more.

Last Summer The New York Times said, “Playing your mom onstage would be a challenge for even a seasoned actress. Playing your mom at 14? Yikes! So it’s all the more remarkable that Mona Golabek, who is undertaking this feat in The Pianist of Willesden Lane, seems to slip so effortlessly into the persona of her mother, the pianist Lisa Jura, during her tumultuous adolescence in Vienna and London. For Ms. Golabek is not a trained actress, but a concert pianist herself. Her performance is graceful, restrained and quietly captivating.” 

Hartford Stage describes the play with music as, “An expression of hope and the life-affirming power of music, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the true story of a young Jewish musician, who was sent from Nazi-ruled Vienna to the relative safety of London during the Blitzkrieg.”

An author, recording artist, radio host and internationally acclaimed concert pianist, Golabek is the founder and president of the non-profit organization Hold On To Your Music. A Grammy Award nominee, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Career Grant and the People's Award of the International Chopin Competition. She has been the subject of several PBS television documentaries, including More Than the Music, which won the grand prize in the 1985 Houston Film Festival, and Concerto for Mona, featuring her and conductor Zubin Mehta. She has appeared in concert at the Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Royal Festival Hall, and with major orchestras and conductors worldwide.

Golabek’s recordings include the best-selling Carnival of the Animals, featuring the voices of Audrey Hepburn, Ted Danson, Lily Tomlin and others;  Ravel’s Mother Goose, featuring Meryl Streep; and the Piano Trios of Arensky and Tchaikovsky, recorded in collaboration with her sister, Renee Golabek-Kaye, and including the Poulenc Double Piano Concerto.

Felder, a Canadian pianist, actor, playwright, composer, producer, and director, has previously thrilled Hartford Stage audiences with his one-man shows, George Gershwin Alone and Monsieur Chopin. His other works include Beethoven, As I Knew Him; Maestro Bernstein; Musik (Franz Liszt); and most recently, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin.   

The Pianist of Willesden Lane’s creative team includes Trevor Hay and Hershey Felder, Set Designers; Jaclyn Maduff, Costume Designer; Christopher Rynne, Lighting Designer; Erik Carstensen, Sound Designer;Andrew Wilder and Greg Sowizdrzal, Projection Designers;and Cynthia Caywood, Dramaturg.

The Production Sponsor for The Pianist of Willesden Lane is Robinson & Cole LLP, and the Assisting Production Sponsors are Federman, Lally & Remis LLC and The Doris and Simon Konover Family Foundation. Spotlight Sponsors are Shari and Michael Cantor and Hebrew Healthcare.  

Special Dates
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26
Press Night: 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28

Tickets for all performances start at $25. For group discounts (10 or more) of up to 40% off regular ticket prices, contact Theresa MacNaughton at 860-520-7114. For all other tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit