The play examines the decades-long career of Adrianna Woodland, a gifted young pianist who sacrifices a great deal to achieve her dream.
First Prize offers a glimpse inside the world of classic music performance, written by a performer who has lived it.
Israela Margalit is both a Playwright and a musician. In First Prize, she tells the story of a pianist striving to succeed in the field of classical music. Ms. Margalit’s familiarity with the source material makes this a fascinating tour.
The story uses an interesting dynamic which follows the pattern of memory, not really the pattern of events. Since road to success was so memorable, the play focuses primarily on the journey - the fights to audition, the failures, and the endless closed doors which probably figured very prominently in the playwright’s life.
This journey is shown so well and so detailed, that once Adrianna achieves her goals you expect the show to wrap up.
Instead, her successful years are very lightly touched on, 25 – 25 years fly by in a flash.
And then the career wrap up takes center stage.
"First Prize is a very good show (...)" REVIEWS OFF BROADWAY
"This is not a play about a suffering artist, groaning over all she’s lost. Margalit looks at the world of concertizing with affection and humor; it may be a snake pit, but she knows and likes all the snakes." JTS
"Concert pianist Israela Margalit's deeply felt, semi-autobiographical play First Prize, now at the ArcLight Theatre, traces the life of a classical musician from her first professional audition all the way through a long career. The talented cast, under the direction of Margarett Perry, shuffles many roles with aplomb during the show's 100 intermissionless minutes; chief among them is Lori Prince, whose winning smile especially endears us to the central character, Adrianna Woodland (...) There are many colorful passages detailing Adriana's interactions with successful conductors (perhaps inspired by the playwright's marriage to Lorin Maazel) all played masterfully by Brian Dykstra, who makes us laugh and cringe at the slimy characters he embodies (...) A lot happens along the way, but that memory remains in their minds -- and ours as well." THEATERMANIA, 04.05.2011