“To everything, turn turn turn, there is a season … and a time to every purpose under heaven.” As the “seasoned” leading lady, Barbara Piecka, plays Margaret Mary Elderdice (a role Katherine Hepburn played dazzlingly on Broadway), she “numbers her days,” and counts her blessings, aging gracefully. She is comforted most by the best soother of the soul, her beloved waltz music.
Coming to her rescue and offering comedic relief, constant companionship and a healthy dose of humor to her otherwise daily humdrum routine, are supporting actors/sidekicks, Andrew Piecka as the good natured NYC apt super, Serge Barrescu; Marty McCambridge, as the bon-bon eating, jovial neighbor/confidante, Cara Varnum; and Lisa Cicchetti as the wide eyed aspiring actress in search of a caregiver/live-in job. This motley crew of characters livens up Margaret’s otherwise lonely existence as a widow in her simple yet elegant upper West Side apartment.
As the seasons come and go, “all the lonely people, where do they all belong?” Ernest Thompson explores this very existential question and theme of growing old, loneliness, regrets, hopes, and dreams, in this charming, enchanting play “in 3/4 time,” following a most successful run on Broadway, and his earlier work, On Golden Pond.
The West Side Waltz was also brought to the screen, but fares much better onstage, with tunes by Johann Strauss and Korsakov, coming to life on piano and violin. The characters bring life and zest into every one of their lines, making each and every ordinary day into a “crystal” one. The play culminates with a zany party, filled with a laugh a moment. Norman Cousins insightfully suggested that “Laughter is inner jogging,” and “The control center of your life is your attitude.” Laughter truly is the best medicine, and The West Side Waltz, a la Trip to Bountiful and On Golden Pond, is a beautiful, uplifting story of friendship, loyalty, with Margaret’s piano “leading the way,” and music as the most “wonderful tonic” of all.
The West Side Waltz runs through May 6 at Lincoln Stegman Theatre located at
6020 Radford St. in North Hollywood.