Last season’s sold-out hit The Pianist of Willesden Lane is back for a limited premier engagement! This show closes June 30th! A must- see! Revisit our interview with Mona Golabek for the thrilling artistry at the piano and the backstory of this one-woman show.

A work of staggering beauty is on the U.S. Bank Main Stage. The Pianist of Willesden Lane is aimed squarely for our times, which as Mona Golabek tells us in our conversation, are doomed to repeat themselves. The lesson Mona took from her mother’s coming-of-age stories? If you have something to hold on to in the darkest of times, you can make your way through it.


Dreams Surviving Through the Power of Music


Any time spent in an empty and darkened theatre in the middle of the day has a certain appeal and magic to it. At Portland Center Stage it’s thrilling to come into the empty space of the Main Stage and hop on the boards to talk with the actors. In this case, Robert Parish and I got as close as we could to the gorgeous Steinway Mona Golabek sits at, as she performs some of the world’s most moving music, and shares her mother’s story of survival and coming of age.

Mona 4

Photo Courtesy of Robert Parish

I asked Mona why she took on the stories she heard her mother tell her as she learned to play the piano at a young age and shape them into something entirely new. It began as a book, then went on to become a one-woman show, thanks to Hershey Felder who saw the promise in it. Mona tells us this was a cause meant to celebrate “man’s humanity to man”, and to “tell everyone’s story…a universal story”.  Mona’s most shining moment in the  journey of sharing Lisa Jura’s story?  “If Lisa can do it I (or anyone) can do it”.




Here’s our extended conversation on the Main Stage. Don’t miss out on the stunning performances of a few pieces at the end of the interview.



Information about the show


Set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitzkrieg, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the true and inspirational story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish musician whose dreams are interrupted by the Nazi regime. In this poignant show, Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek performs some of the world’s most stunning music as she shares her mother’s riveting true story of survival. Pianist is infused with hope and invokes the life-affirming power of music.

Run Time:

Approximately 90 minutes; no intermission.

General Performance Times:

Evenings: Tuesday – Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Thursdays at noon

View the season calendar.


Explore the Playbill.


The Pianist of Willesden Lane is recommended for ages 12+. Children under 6 are not permitted at any PCS production.