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Star Bar History: The Heidi Chronicles, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'Heidi Chronicles' remains relevant after 19 years
The Gazette, Oct 26, 2007

When "The Heidi Chronicles" premiered in 1988, Wendy Wasserstein's comic but touching saga of a liberated woman was immediately recognized for its insight into women's issues.

"I didn't know whether the sacrifices I had made were worth the road I was taking," the playwright told People magazine in 1995. "So I decided to write a play about all that."

A lot has changed since then. But Ellen Hietala, who directs the Star Bar Players' new production, said the play has aged well.

"If you're 40 or over, you'll get the references," she said. "Remember 'quality time'? If you're under 40, you'll think, 'Cool, it's a funny play about interpersonal relationships.'"

Hietala finds all the characters persuasive -- "Wendy Wasserstein had a nice way of creating characters," she said -- but reserves her greatest admiration for the title character, because she never abandons her idealism: The idea that all people deserve an opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Hietala is also excited about her cast, led by Alysabeth Clements as Heidi.

"She's almost too pretty for the part, but she's such a good actress," said Hietala.

Jude Bishop plays Scoop Rosenbaum, the man Heidi loves -- and who loves her, but who's threatened by the thought of a wife with a career.

"In rehearsal, Jude keeps saying that Scoop isn't a jerk," said Hietala. "We tell him that it's important that he believe that."

Dylan Mosley, who returned from duty in Iraq a week after rehearsals began, plays Peter, Heidi's other male interest.

"We chose him without an audition, because he was a such a good match for Jude," said Hietala.

Shannon Walnutt will play Susan, Heidi's sell-out best friend.

Wasserstein, who died in 2006 at the age of 55, had knack for creating great comic set pieces -- such as this play' consciousness- raising session Heidi's speech about her aero bics class epiphany, and a TV appearance by Heidi, Scoop and Peter.

"The humor is wry and dry, said Hietala.

What makes "Heidi Chronicles" more than a period piece is the fact that its relationship is sues are timeless. They're set in relief by the play's focus on the American women's movement but are not dependent on it.

by MARK ARNEST