The play follows Meir’s life story - from the pogroms of Russia to teaching school in Milwaukee, working on a kibbutz in Palestine and ultimately to the halls of the Knesset as Israel’s fourth prime minister - with particular focus on the Yom Kippur War of 1973. It also brings into focus the birth of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust and the endless struggle for peace in the region ever since. Meir was Israeli prime minister from 1969 to 1974, the fourth person – and first woman - to hold the post. She died in 1978.
Gibson first looked at Meir’s life in play Golda, which ran on Broadway in 1977 with Anne Bancroft leading the company as Meir. This subsequent piece premiered at the Manhattan Ensemble and then transferred in 2003 to New York’s Helen Hayes Theatre, where it ran for 17 months, making it the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history.
In addition to Golda's Balcony, Feldshuh created the title role in Yentl on Broadway. Her other credits include Lend Me a Tenor, Sarava and Rodgers and Hart and TV’s Holocaust and Law and Order. Feldshuh is directed, as she was in New York, by Scott Schwartz, whose other credits include Tick Tick Boom and Godspell in the UK and Bat Boy, The Foreigner and Miss Julie in New York.
Golda's Balcony is presented by Peter Wolff and Louisa Prodromou in association with Stars and Angels Ltd. It’s followed at the Shaw by another one-woman Broadway import, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which as reported earlier this week (See News, 7 Apr 2008), has a limited London return season from 31 July to 10 August 2008.
- by Terri Paddock