Story of the Show
HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr explores the life, inventions and person of Hedy Lamarr, Viennese-born Hollywood film star of the 1930s-1950s. Known as The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Hedy Lamarr stored away knowledge of munitions while married to Austrian arms dealer, Fritz Mandl. She employed this knowledge to support the US Navy’s war effort during WWII by inventing The Secret Communication System with composer George Antheil, to make torpedoes more accurate. Also referred to as Frequency Hopping or Spread Spectrum Technology, her invention is used today in cell phones, WiFi, CDMA, GPS, Bluetooth and a myriad of other wireless systems.
Having studied Astrophysics with dreams of becoming an astronaut, Heather Massie marries her loves of art and science in the person of Hedy Lamarr. She brings Hedy to life while interacting with the audience and playing the 33 other characters in Hedy’s life including Jimmy Stewart, George Sanders, Bette Davis, and Louis B. Mayer. The audience summons Hedy to unearth the truth behind how such a glamorous actress could create an invention which is ubiquitous today. Massie says, "I use the story of the unexpected genius of Hedy Lamarr to empower women, to inspire audiences to find ways each day to make the world a better place, and to encourage young women in endeavors of science and technology."
Heather Massie stars as Hedy Lamarr. Director & Artistic Consultation - Blake Walton, Artistic Consultation - Leslie Kincaid Burby, Projections - Jim Marlowe & Charley Marlowe, Sound Design - Jacob Subotnick, Dialects - Page Clements, Technical Assistance - Dan Leary, Photography - Al Foote III, Charley Marlowe & Monica Callan.
Heather Massie was honored as the Outstanding Actress in a Staged Reading at the 2016 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in New York City for HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. The World Premiere was presented on Hedy Lamarr’s 102nd birthday in the United Solo Festival in New York City, and was named a 2016 Festival Bestseller. Ms. Massie was awarded with the Best Actress Award in the 2017 SaraSolo Festival in Sarasota, Florida; with the Audience Choice Award for the 2017 Shenandoah Fringe in Staunton, Virginia; with the Outstanding Performance in a Solo Show Award for the 2017 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in NYC; with the Best Actress Award in the 2017 Galway Fringe in Galway, Ireland; and with the Audience Choice and Sold Out Awards in the 2017 IndyFringe Festival in Indianapolis, IN. It was developed in the Artist-in-Residence program in 2016 at the Grange Hall Cultural Center in Waterbury Center, VT, and performed there in March 2017. It was also presented in DivaFest 2017 in Indianapolis in March 2017; at Gamut Classic Theatre in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, July 2017; in a special NYC performance for Hedy Lamarr’s family and biographers in April, 2017; in a special invited performance at The Stag’s Head in Dublin, Ireland in July, 2017; and in the 2017 Charm City Fringe in Baltimore, MD in Nov., 2017.
Ms. Massie performed the show in the 2017 Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, facilitated by the US Embassy, Zimbabwe. Ms. Massie served as a Cultural Envoy to the 2008 Intwasa Arts Festival as assistant to Tony-Nominated Playwrighting Instructor Mr. Leslie Lee. She returned to Intwasa to present HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr in her Leslie Lee Memorial Tour, and continued the tour in Cape Town, South Africa at the Alexander Bar, Cafe & Theatre and the Cape Town Science Centre. In Dec 2017 she performed the show aboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in NYC for their GOALS for Girls Program, and in a Lecture Recording for NPR - WITF’s Mind Matters program for The Department of Aging in Pennsylvania. She returned to the SaraSolo Festival in 2018 to present an Encore! Performance and a lecture on Hedy Lamarr. In February, she was the keynote lecturer for the 2018 Inspirefest Salon New York. A special performance of the show was presented at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in NYC in honor of International Women's Day and the Austrian Remembrance Year on March 6, 2018. And Ms. Massie delivered a lecture on Hedy Lamarr on International Women's Day at Siegel+Gale in NYC; and performed the show at Millersville University in Millersville, at Champlain College in Burlington, VT, and at the Grange Hall Cultural Center in Waterbury Center, VT in April 2018.
She presented the show at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Harare, Zimbabwe, May, 2018; the Unizulu Science Centre, Science Festival in Durban, South Africa, May, 2018; the Thope Foundation in Khayelitsha, South Africa, May, 2018; theMakukhanye Art Room in Khayelitsha, South Africa, May, 2018; Women in Tech in Cape Town, South Africa, May, 2018; George Arts Theatre in George, South Africa, May, 2018; the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, May-June, 2018.
She is slated to perform in Inspirefest 2018 in Dublin, Ireland, June 21, 2018; at the Dublin Science Gallery hosted by Women in Technology & Science in Dublin, Ireland, June 26, 2018; at Accidental Theatre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2018; in the Gothenburg Fringe, Gothenburg, Sweden, August, 2018; in the OnStage! Festival, Rome, Italy, January, 2019; at the Science Museum of Virginia, in Richmond, VA in Summer/Fall 2018; at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, October, 2018; and the Sarasota Bay Club in Sarasota, Florida, Jan, 2019. Plans are underway for further production in international festivals, regional theatres, universities, museums, libraries, schools, and scientific and cultural organizations.
This project is recommended, and supported in part, by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.