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The Heidi Chronicles
Asolo Repertory Theatre

A Separate Peace
Brian Sills and
Elizabeth King-Hall

Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles is the third play in the winter repertory at Asolo Rep during its first of a multi-year examination of The American Experience, and an excellent choice. This landmark play, which won the 1988 Tony Award for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize is nothing less than an examination of the role of women in society from the early 1960s through more than two decades. It might seem dated to younger audiences, those in their twenties and thirties, but for those in their forties and fifties it's the story of their mothers, and for those baby boomers and older, it's the story of our lives. In 10 years or so, it is likely that this play will need to be put away for some ageing, to be pulled out again when it has become an historical piece. Sarasota's older population base is seeing themselves up on the stage and they are bringing their children to experience it, also.

It seems to me that Asolo Rep is doing a lot of plays that demand a strong sense of time and place, such as You Can't Take it With You and Glengarry Glen Ross, both previously reviewed. The Heidi Chronicles, in attempting to illuminate such an important social movement and the effects on people's lives, must offer up a knowledgeable representation of those times. What is astonishing is that Director Laura Kepley and her entire cast are too young to have the strong connections to the material described above, which we saw in an actors talkback. Ms. Kepley in an interview in the program book, clearly relates strongly to this material and that shows in her direction.

Everything about this production is just about perfect. A mostly guest cast, assisted by members of the Asolo Conservatory, as the ensemble offers rich performances. Elizabeth King-Hall as title character Heidi Holland captures many nuances as she grows from woman/child to mature mother. She dominates the production as this central character must. Zachary Fine as Scoop Rosenbaum, who loves Heidi but is too self absorbed to make a life with her, and Brian Sills as best friend Dr. Peter Patrone both offer excellent support, as does Gail Rastorfer as friend, Susan Johnston. The ensemble, several of whom have showier roles in other productions, all do a great job.

The entire production is greatly helped by Asolo Theater's technical resources, all elements add to the richness. Sets designed by Kris Stone clearly delineate time and place, and having the ensemble dance to music of the period makes scene changes seamless, also helping the audience transition across time. Costuming by Jennifer Caprio is on the same exalted level.

Asolo Repertory Theater presents The Heidi Chronicles,through March 17, 2013, at the Mertz Theater in the FSU Center. 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Sarasota, Florida. Box Office (941) 351-8000. For more information visit www.asolorep.org.

Cast
Elizabeth King-Hall*: Heidi Holland
Zachary Fine*: Scoop Rosenbaum
Brian Sills*: Peter Patrone
Gail Rastorfer*: Susan Johnston
Brendan Ragan, Erin Whitney, Brittany Proia*, Lindsay Tornquist, Kelly Campbell, Christopher Wynn, Sarah Brown, Zak Wilson and Joseph McGranaghan: Ensemble

Director: Laura Kepley
Set Design: Kris Stone
Costume Design: Jennifer Caprio
Lighting Design: Paul Miller
Sound Design: Matthew parker
Projection Design: Michael Clark
Resident Hair/Wig & Make-up Design: Michelle Hart
Resident Production Stage Manager: Kelly A. Borgia
Assistant to the Director: Rebecca Cunningham

*--Member of Actor's Equity Association


Photo: Gary Sweetman

--William S. Oser



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