Review and Giveaway: The Heidi Chronicles on Broadway


Let me preface this review by saying I’m a huge Wendy Wasserstein fan. I was introduced to her plays as a high-school student studying drama in a performing arts school. Her plays resonated with me instantly – as a theater lover, as a feminist, as someone looking through her choices in life as a young woman. I heard her speak several times before she passed away – once in college and once at a conference right before when I had my first child. I’ve read all her plays, read her biography and wish more than anything that she was still here on this earth with us.

I saw The Heidi Chronicles (which won a Pulitzer for and Tony Award) for the first time when I was in college in Atlanta, Georgia at the Horizon Theatre. The experience was life changing. I saw someone on stage that was like me, or someone I knew very well. I wasn’t sure why – all I knew was that the play spoke to me on so many levels. It gave me hope about my own choices as a woman about to enter my own adult life in the 1990s.

Seeing it in 2015 was a very different experience. I left the theater feeling kind of abysmal. Yet it wasn’t the production that depressed me, it was its theme – can women have it all? This isn’t a new question and we’ve certainly had our share of stories about it over the last few years.  Feminism plays a huge role in this show, and women’s rights have certainly evolved since the play was written. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sincerely grateful for it being brought back to the stage. It’s an experience I’ve been waiting for some time. So why feel depleted?

The play traces 25 years in a woman’s life, starting with her days as a teenager in high school and then at Yale, studying art history, graduate school in Chicago and finally life as a adult in New York City where she ends up living amongst the people who spanned the course of her life. The woman is Heidi, in this version played by Elizabeth Moss from Mad Men.  An excellent cast joins her, including Jason Biggs and Bryce Pinkham, as the two men that have the most impact on her existence. The play takes us through their chronicles as they weave through their professions, love lives, political whims and major decisions.  We watch as they stress over how society views them, whether they should have children or focus on their careers and their continuous need to fight for their rights.

Heidi remains the center focus of the play. She is someone who wants to have it all but realizes that it’s impossible. As we watch how the characters relate to her own path and journey through life, which sometimes includes them and sometimes doesn’t, we quietly relate to her struggles. Why? Because they still exist today.

The audience at my viewing of the show, which opened to great reviews last week, was predominantly made of women in their 40s, like myself. They seemed to have all come straight from work and I overheard several saying the show would make great fodder for water cooler conversation the next morning. I couldn’t’ help but look around at their faces during the performance, and as I did, I saw them nodding their heads, smiling just a little, relating to Heidi’s travails and experiences.

And so did I. I’ve taken a very different road to Heidi, having married and had children in my 30’s. I’ve also handled my career quite differently and made some choices based around the fact that I’m now a mom. I’m someone who questions these choices, much like some of the women in the play, and I wonder if women can truly have it all, as I haven’t been very good at the balance of trying to.

At the end of the play, we watch Heidi make a major decision as a 40-something woman that puts her career in the backseat. Perhaps Wasserstein, whose life very much mirrored the story she was telling, felt that it’s virtually impossible. Like Heidi, she let her career take a backseat in the end to have a child. Like Heidi, she was in love with unattainable men. Like Heidi, she was brilliant and questioned when she wasn’t the center of her friend’s lives. She was a devoted friend and someone who didn’t go after what she wanted perhaps at the right time.


The ensemble cast is excellent, as is the direction by Pam McKinnion. The shifts in time are demonstrated by video and narrative, transporting us through the major political events in each decade that passed during the 25 years depicted in this play. Elizabeth Moss brings a certain dynamic to the character of Heidi that makes the experience all the more worthwhile. Her subtle expressions made my own emotions spin and I hope that she is nominated for a Tony Award next year.

The Heidi Chronicles is an important story and I’m glad it’s back on Broadway. That’s also why you need to get your friends together and go see this show. It may piss you off – it may make you think about the choices you’ve made or need to make to change your life – it may make you question everything. But that’s what a good story does, and that’s what this play will do. After the show, talk about it, write about it. Wendy Wasserstein is listening, I promise.

The Heidi Chronicles is playing at The Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street. Get tickets here.

I’m thrilled beyond belief to be giving away a pair of tickets to THE HEIDI CHRONICLES! Blackout dates may apply.

To win, just comment below and let me know how far you feel women have come.

For an additional entry, tweet this:

I entered to win a pair of tickets to see @HeidiOnBroadway via @hollychronicles! http://bit.ly/1xGINjj #Broadway #NYC

Winner will be selected randomly. The winner will receive two tickets, which will be held at the box office day of show in your name. This giveaway will end on Friday, April 3rd at 9am EST. Winner will be posted here, on the Culture Mom Facebook page and via email and will have 24 hours to accept their prize.

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post but received complimentary tickets to facilitate the review.  Giveaway is courtesy of THE HEIDI CHRONICLES.




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  1. Women have come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go – just look at how people freak out when Hollywood wants to make an all-female Ghostbusters, or the way women are often treated on the internet (I’m not name-dropping the hashtag, but you all know what I’m referring to). There are certainly a lot more opportunities but the respect level could be so much better.

  2. I still think that there are a lot of issues with equal pay. When i was growing up we were expected to get married and have kids. Now you have a lot more freedom and respect to pursue what you want to be.

  3. Women’s rights have certainly come a long way, but we still have so much more to do, particularly in terms of equal pay in the workplace. The fact that men still make more than women for doing the same job is truly confusing to me. However, at least women can now feel free to apply to jobs that they want to without being laughed at or looked down upon.

  4. Lourdes Gamez says:

    We have come far, yet there is still so much more to do. In corporate jobs, we still make less than males, however, so many females have started their own business. The Bronx is booming with women who have opened up shops, myself included. It’s hard work, but we’re doing it. We have to, for the sake of our daughters who are watching us.

    • Yes, Lourdes, I’m a woman who has also started my own business for better life balance, but it’s hard work. I love your last line: We have to, for the sake of our daughters who are watching us.

  5. Ellen Gerstein says:

    Going through the college process with my daughter is so much different than I was was preparing, not to mention my mother’s time. There are so many more opportunities for her and I can’t wait to see what she makes of them.

  6. Women have come to a point where do not have to feel inferior, superior, or equal to men.

  7. Women have come so far, but yet still are not equal. #EqualityForAll

  8. Women have come very far from my mom’s generation, to mine, and to my daughters.Would love to see this. Thanks

  9. I think girls now think that they can achieve any career they want to. They have role models in science, law, medicine, politics, architecture etc. and that certainly is progress from when we grew up. In my opinion, the concept that women can have it all and be a total success at it all is where women set themselves up for failure. If you worked 60-70 hours at a job and now because of children you only want to work 40, you will not be viewed the same. If you continue working 60-70 you have to expect that someone else, spouse or other, will primarily be raising your children. This is no different for men. Because glass ceiling positions in business now requires you to be available 24/7 by phone and Internet a woman has to make a choice where she seeks to be the most successful. The fact that she can now make a choice is the biggest change.

  10. Ellen Gervits says:

    Far enough to feel free.

  11. I was in Washington DC last weekend with my GirlScout troop and that’s exactly what we were talking about-how far women have come in this country-the right to vote was a biggie and the memorial for those that fought for that right at the Captial Building was great to visit

  12. Robb Johnston says:

    Women have come far, unfortunately it is people of my gender that have not always come along for the ride or pretend that those strides havent’ happened.

  13. Kathy Hanley says:
  14. Sarah Packard says:

    Well, we’ve come extremely far in terms of a lot of the big issues – except, ridiculously enough, that of equal pay 🙁 – but we still have to fight everyday sexism and sometimes it’s even more insidious because it can be subtle. But obviously we still have huge problems like rape and domestic violence, lack of access to abortion and even contraception, sexual harassment at work, body shaming, etc etc etc! So there is much still to be done.

  15. Kathy Hanley says:

    I think women have come very far but I still don’t think women are treated equally in a lot of industries and I don’t think women are paid equally.

  16. Nicole Herman says:

    It’s amazing the progress women have made over the years! It’s inspiring to think about how women fought their way to treated as equals to men and now have even surpassed them in many fields!

  17. Shannon Duffy says:

    Being born post Roe vs. Wade, I have not really experienced sex discrimination… However, I recently worked for a man who thought women basically can’t do anything and felt he can express his chauvinistic ways and his crazy sense of basically women should be out there sleeping around and not just have one boyfriend, before I get to old to do so. (That was actually said to me!) So now, I have learned we still have a lot of work to do!

  18. I tweeted the comment on twitter

  19. I definitely feel we’ve come a long way but there is still a very long way to go

  20. I had the ability to decide to be a single mom without the stigma attached to it. I didn’t “have” to get married as so many women before had to in my situation. I had the choice of careers that I wanted to pursue and my family supported me in those choices. When I did get married, I had the choice to stay at home or work. These options were less clear for my mom and would not even have been options for my grandmother. I am proud of how far we have come and hope that we continue to pave the way for our future daughters.

  21. This week, more than any other I can remember, reminded me how far women have come…and that applies to women of all ages. My mother in law, age 92, passed away on Wednesday. She was a front runner – a leader, stronger than anyone male or female that I’ve ever known, a mother of 5 and a true matriarch of a huge extended family. Others in the family, younger than her, have assumed roles far less amazing and inspiring – although the youngest generation shows promise. My mother in law will be misses, as much for being a wonderful woman that was so dearly loved as for her trail blazing strength as a woman.

  22. Wendy Wallach says:

    I feel that as a woman in the world today, I can honor who I am without wishing to be like a man. I think that is the true meaning of how far we have really come.

  23. Women have come far but not far enough.

  24. Women definitely have more opportunities, but there’s still a long way to go. Just look at how many more plays on Broadway are written by men. The Heidi Chronicles is an exception.

  25. women now have a voice.

  26. Pamela M says:

    If the possibility of having Hillary Clinton as the next US president doesn’t come close as to how far women have come, I don’t know what else to say.

  27. Monica C says:

    I feel women have come far in terms of rights and achievement. For example, girls are doing better than boys in school in general these days. However, there’s still a long way to go for women to get the same respect as men do.

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