Bioplay on glamorous Hollywood star and Holocaust refugee whose inventions led to Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth

October 25-29, 2023
Morningside Players Theater Company, 100 La Salle Street, Manhattan
Subway: #1 to 125th Street
Presented by Morningside Players Theater Company.
Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 5:00 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM.
Tickets $20 gen. adm., $15 students and seniors or pay what you can 1/2 hour before curtain, based on availability.
Box office: https://morningsideplayers.org, (646) 200-5089
Running time: 90 min + 15min Q&A
Show's website: www.HeatherMassie.com/nyc
Critics are invited to all performances.
PHOTOS: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wj6sNCFJoTXUUi8L7

NEW YORK, September 18 -- Heather Massie will perform her solo play, "HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr," at Morningside Players Theater Company, 100 La Salle Street, Manhattan, for general audiences October 25 to 29. The award-winning play celebrates the unexpected scientific genius of Hedy Lamarr, the Viennese-born Hollywood film star of the 1930s-1950s. Leslie Kincaid Burby directs.

Known as 'the most beautiful woman in the world,' Hedy Lamarr spent her spare time in Hollywood inventing new technology. She had stored away knowledge of munitions while married to an Austrian arms dealer in the thirties, and employed this knowledge to support the US Navy’s war effort during WWII by inventing (with composer George Antheil) Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum Technology. At the time, it was to be used as a secret communication system for making torpedoes more accurate. Today it is used in cell phones, WiFi, CDMA, GPS and Bluetooth.

In this bioplay, which spans the actress' life from childhood to the 1990s, Heather Massie plays Hedy Lamarr and 35 other characters, including Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis, Louis B Mayer, and more. Reviewers have deemed the production "Captivating" (Huffington Post), "Fascinating" (Belfast Times), "Inspiring" (Broadway World) and "Irresistible" (Artslink, South Africa). Its 24 awards include Best Performance at PRO.Act Fest (Kyiv, Ukraine), Best Actress at Galway Fringe (Ireland) Character Actor Award at Reykajavik Fringe (Iceland), Best Actress at SaraSolo (Sarasota, FL), and Outstanding Performance in a Solo Show at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity (NYC).

The play has toured to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Iceland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt, and Tunisia, garnering 24 awards and critical acclaim. It has been performed in theaters, arts festivals, science festivals, science centers, technology conferences, museums, universities, schools, Jewish centers, STEM and STEAM events, and cultural and scientific organizations throughout the United States and overseas. The show's website is: www.HeatherMassie.com/Hedy.

Heather Massie is a New York City actor, writer, producer, and Fulbright Specialist. She studied Astrophysics at the University of Virginia, with dreams of becoming an astronaut, and then studied Theatre Arts at the Virginia Tech School of the Arts, graduating Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi. She has performed extensively in NYC and throughout the US. She created "HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr" as a marriage of her loves of art and science. She premiered the show on Theatre Row in 2016 and has since toured it worldwide. In 2019, she toured the show through South Africa sponsored by the US State Department, World Learning, and the US Embassy South Africa in the US Department of State's Fulbright Specialist program.

Leslie Kincaid Burby is an Inwood resident and acclaimed NYC director, who directs with Pied Piper Children's Theatre in Upper Manhattan and many other acclaimed Manhattan theater companies. She received the New York Innovative Theater (NYIT) Outstanding Director Award for WorkShop Theater's "The Navigator" by Eddie Antar, which received two Drama Desk nominations, eight NYIT nominations, and was a NY Times Critic's Pick. She was also the 2016 Winner of the NYC Fringe Overall Excellence Award for direction of "Zamboni" by Sean-Patrick O'Brien, whose production extended in the Fringe Encore Series at SoHo Playhouse.

Hedy Lamarr, whose birth name was Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, in 1914. Her father, Emil Kiesler, was a successful bank director; her mother, Gertrud Kiesler, was a pianist from Budapest. In 1937, she married Friedrich Mandl, an Austrian arms manufacturer who had close ties to the fascist regime. Recognizing the dangers posed by the Nazis, Lamarr disguised herself as a maid and fled her husband's oppressive household, making her way to Paris and then to London, where she connected with Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM Studios. Mayer was impressed by her beauty and talent and ultimately offered her a Hollywood film contract. Her stunning beauty and captivating performances in films like "Algiers" and "Samson and Delilah" solidified her status as a silver screen icon.

However, her contributions to technology and science were equally remarkable. During World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a frequency-hopping system to prevent the interception of radio-controlled torpedoes. Although their invention was not widely implemented at the time, it laid the foundation for modern wireless communication and served as a precursor to technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Lamarr's genius went largely unrecognized until later in her life, but her inventive spirit and enduring legacy make her a true pioneer. The play recounts the twists and turns of her remarkable life, the miracle of her escape from Europe in the thirties, and her struggle to be valued for her scientific genius, not just for her beauty and acting talent.

In addition to this run for general audiences, invitational student matinees are being presented October 24 and 30 at 1:00 PM. These student performances are funded, in part, by an Upper Manhattan Empowerment Grant through Lower Manhattan Cultural Council with the goal of reaching young audiences in Inwood, Manhattanville, Grant Houses, West Harlem and Upper Manhattan. These performances are closed to the public, admission is by arrangement with participating schools. Info contact: Vincent Marano at vincentmarano@yahoo.com.

"HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr" is made possible in part with funding from UMEZ Arts Engagement, a regrant program supported by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ) and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).

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Critics are invited to all performances.
Photos are available at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wj6sNCFJoTXUUi8L7.