Leaning in. Lawsuits at hedge funds. Wage inequality. Unfortunately 2015 isn’t as far from the era of The Heidi Chronicles as we may wish. Wendy Wasserstein’s coming-of-age story of Heidi Holland and her search for personal and professional fulfillment still resonates in this sharp and poignant revival.
Led by a cast that includes Elisabeth Moss as Heidi, Bryce Pinkham as her best friend Peter, and Jason Biggs as her on and off again boyfriend Scoop, the play takes us through Heidi’s life in a series of vignettes, set against the music of the time. There’s Heidi at a high school mixer with her friend who’s trying to make her miniskirt even “minier. There’s Heidi at a McCarthy rally, at a women’s consciousness raising group and at a lunch with a friend who’s wearing “power” shoulder pads in her suit jacket. Throughout it all Heidi has her wit and keen powers of observation. A TV interview where Heidi is on a panel with Peter and Skip has her noting how the men don’t let her finish her own sentences. And at that lunch she sees how the friend’s quest for professional success has gotten in the way of their friendship.
I hope that women of all ages (and plenty of men) embrace this show. There is something for young women to learn about the sacrifices that have made to at least get us to this point. Women of a certain age can appreciate the soundtrack of their youth and laugh ruefully at their fashion and hair choices. And men can appreciate a well-written and acted story that has aged nicely. AFW
The Heidi Chronicles, The Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street
Running time 2 hours & 35 minutes including 1 intermission
Runs thru: 8/9/15