A PIECE OF MY HEART Opens April 24th at Footlighters in Berwyn

by Patricia Bradford

Footlighters Community Theater in Berwyn, PA is pleased to present an unforgettable production – A PIECE OF MY HEART- over three weekends in April/May, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war (April 30, 1975).

More than 15,000 women served in Vietnam during the war years. At that time, there was little to no media coverage about women in Vietnam, nor was there adequate reporting of their experiences, heroism, their homecomings, or their readjustment difficulties. In the 1980’s, Keith Walker spent 2 years doing nationwide interviews including nurses, officers, Red Cross workers and entertainers – all who shared the common experience of serving their country in Vietnam. Keith then wrote a book, A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam.

Walker’s book has been transformed into a powerful drama by Shirley Lauro, with six actresses and one actor portraying numerous characters. A PIECE OF MY HEART is meant to be representational of many different experiences and personalities. Directed by Cindy Schneider, the play begins in the late 1960’s and portrays each young woman before, during, and after her tour in the war-torn nation, ending as each leaves a personal token at the memorial wall in Washington.

A PIECE OF MY HEART has enjoyed over 1000 worldwide productions and been named “The most enduring play on Vietnam in the nation,” by The Vietnam Vets Association.

Author Doris “Lucki” Allen, a highly decorated, three-tour Army veteran, considers A PIECE OF MY HEART to be “a masterpiece.” The character of Intelligence Officer Steele “is basically a true portrayal of my three tours in Vietnam.” Dr. Allen hopes to make the Footlighters Theater run of the play her 18th attended production.

Audiences rarely leave the theater after A PIECE OF MY HEART unmoved. Like male veterans, many women returned with post-traumatic stress disorder, finding it hard to shake the numbness that made a war zone bearable or to settle into a life minus manic highs and lows. As one remarks, “The war really did a number on all of us.” The women on stage recount the time they spent “in country.” “The one thing Nam did for me was that I felt like I could walk on water,” says a nurse, a conviction that made later jobs seem worthless or impossibly bland.

This incredible production opens April 24th and runs weekends through May 9th coinciding with the 40th Anniversary of the end of the war. Footlighters Theater is located at 58 Main Avenue Berwyn, Pennsylvania 19312. Details can be found and tickets purchased online at www.footlighterstheater.com. You won’t want to miss this moving production. Bring a friend; thank a veteran; count your blessings.

Photo Credit: Carl Lotz. Cast Names (left to right) – Emily Sturz (LeeAnn), Jessica Poulton (Sissy), Jamie Brandt (MaryJo, with guitar), Tia Allen (Steele), & Lindsey Franklin (Martha). Not shown: Allison Greet (Whitney) and Jim Breslin (The American Men).

Theater/Organization Website: http://www.footlighterstheater.com

Theater/Organization Address: 58 Main Avenue Berwyn, Pennsylvania 19312 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (610) 296-9245

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