Born and reared in St. Louis, Willy Holtzman came to playwriting late. But once he did, he wrote from the heart. In the late 1990s, he set to work on a play about his father, a University City High School grad who shipped off to Europe in World War II and lived to tell the tale. Countless writers have dealt with that war. But Hearts
is unique in its unsparing portrayal of a young Jewish soldier whose initial reaction upon liberating the concentration camp at Buchenwald was to blame the Jews -- not the Nazis -- for the Holocaust. The play received a stunningly eerie production from New Jewish, highlighted by Christopher Limber's wonderfully humane performance in the lead role. Like The Glass Menagerie
(that other memory play), Hearts
is rooted in St. Louis. But its tapestry of 60 years of American life roams far beyond the city limits.