University Theatre
A PIECE OF MY HEART by Shirley Lauro

A Piece of My Heart

University Theatre Presents A Piece of My Heart,
a play by Shirley Lauro

Kennedy-McIlwee Studio Theatre, Thompson Hall,
NC State University Campus

Thursday, October 28-Sunday, October 31
Wednesday, November 3-Sunday November 7

Wed-Saturday evening performances at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday matinee performances at 2 pm.
Adults $17; Seniors, Students, Alumni and Parent Assn. Members, Students, Encore, $15; NCSU Students $5      

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Ticket Central 919.515.1100 or




"A Piece of My Heart Goes With Each of Them"
Since 1993, with the dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the mall in Washington DC, the women who served during the Vietnam era and their families have gathered each Veteran’s Day for “In Their Own Words,” storytelling of their experiences in the war. This year NC State University Theatre’s Other Voices production will honor the women veterans by bringing those voices to the stage in a production of A PIECE OF MY HEART, a powerful play by Shirley Lauro, suggested by stories told in the Keith Walker book of the same name.



The playwright will be joining the audience, cast and crew for the opening night reception on Thursday, October 28, and for a post show discussion on Friday, October 29. >More


CANCELLED:University Theatre will host a pre-show discussion at Thompson Hall on Wednesday November 3 at 6 pm on Women in the Military, How Far We've Come, How Far We're Going. Join us! CANCELLED:


Call for Vietnam Women's MemorabiliaA Piece of My Heart

About the Play

Playwright Shirley Lauro Visits Opening Weekend

University Theatre Salutes Veterans

About the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation

Read more about the playwright, women of the Vietnam War, women in the military, and additional links of interest


The Women
According to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, during the years of the Vietnam War, 265,000 military and civilian women served and it is estimated that as many as 10,000 women were assigned in combat zones alongside brother soldiers. The women came from all over the United States, from all kinds of backgrounds, races, education levels and religions. They served as nurses, physicians, air traffic controllers, transportation and supply workers, Red Cross workers, USO entertainers, in relief services and as news correspondents. All of them were volunteers.


“The common ground we had, which is why I felt so strongly about honoring these women, was that not a single one of us had to be there,” Diane Carlson Evans said in remarks at the Omaha Nebraska’s Blue Barn Theatre production of A Piece of My Heart in 2003 ( Veteran in-country nurse Evans spearheaded the ten-year campaign for the creation of the memorial in Washington DC. “We were not drafted. We were not conscripted. Nobody put a gun to our head and said go to Vietnam and do your duty. We could have stayed home, got our masters degree, had our kids, played golf and tennis and had a good life. But every one of us—Red Cross, military, USO—said, I want to do my part, and did, during a very unpopular war. We didn’t have a lot of support from home, from peers or from our country. We just thought it was the right thing to do.” Some of the women boarded planes with no idea they would soon disembark in a war-torn country where they would endure an emotional rollercoaster tour and then return to a nation that would take years to recognize and honor their contributions.



A Call for Memorabilia for Display
In conjunction with our production of A Piece of My Heart, we would like to honor these women with a display of memorabilia in our beautiful new handcrafted front lobby display cases. If you are a veteran or know of a woman veteran who may have photos or other items we might borrow for the display cases, please call us at 919.515.3105 or email to


The Play
A Piece of My Heart debuted at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays and was professionally produced in the 1991 Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville. It premiered in New York City in 1991 at the Union Square Theatre by Manhattan Theatre Club. Scenes have been presented at Veterans Day storytelling sessions at the memorial. The play tells the stories of six women—three nurses, an officer, a Red Cross volunteer and a country-western singer—who go to Vietnam in the late 1960s. The play takes no political sides; the stories aren’t sugar-coated. They don’t present the women as heroes that signed up to save the world, but instead offer realistic portrayals of young and sometimes naïve women coping with the fragility of life in the midst of war’s horrors. The music of the era intertwines with the dialogue as the characters weave through the flashbacks of injured soldiers and surgeries, finding good times and enduring bad times, to the emotional traumas that continue to haunt them long after the war’s end.


Guest director and retired senior associate director Terri Janney says the play is important to attend because it is “an American history lesson from which our leaders have yet to learn. It is an incredible story of those women who served with little credit or acknowledgement by the American public. Adults should see this play to remember all that we have forgotten about the Vietnam War and the untold stories of the women who supposedly did not serve in combat. University students and even high school students should see this play to understand what our current service men and women are going through now in Iraq and Afghanistan and their difficulties readjusting to daily American life. These women put a face on the casualty of war.”


A Piece of My Heart has enjoyed over 1,800 productions around the world, is the Recipient of the Barbara Deming Prize, The Kittredge Prize, and The Susan Blackburn Prize(finalist). The play was named by Vietnam Vets of America, Inc.: “The most enduring play in the nation on Vietnam.”

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University Theatre Welcomes Playwright Shirley LauroShirley Lauro
The playwright of A Piece of My Heart, Shirley Lauro, joins us for opening week activities. Ms. Lauro is the author of many plays with political themes and stories from women’s experiences. Her latest play, The Radiant about Marie Curie, was commissioned by The Sloan Science Foundation, and will receive its World Premiere Production at New Theatre in March, 2011. The Chicago World Premiere of All Through The Night, another recent play, received a Joseph Jefferson Nomination as “Best New Chicago Play of the Year” and subsequently was presented by Ashby Stages, Berkley, CA, and Traveling Jewish Theater of San Francisco. In 2009 it was presented in its off-Broadway New York by Red Fern Theatre and is a Samuel French 2010 publication.


Other plays include Clarence Darrow’s Last Trial, recipient of an NEA “Access to Excellence” grant, a Carbonell nomination as Best New Play in Florida, and The New American History Play Prize(finalist), and her multi-generational play, Speckled Birds. Her play Open Admissions, on Broadway, received one Tony Nomination, two Drama Desk nominations, a theatre World Award, a Samuel French Award, was a New York Times pick for “Ten Best Plays of the Year,” and received the prestigious Dramatists Guild’s Hull- Warriner Award. Ms. Lauro subsequently adapted the play for a CBS TV Special starring Jane Alexander and Estelle Parsons. In 2008 the play was honored by publication in Writing Through Literature, where it joined works by Walt Whitman, Ionesco, Langston Hughes and Toni Cade Bambera in the book’s section, “The Lesson.”


Other work includes: The Coal Diamond (Heidemann Prize, Humana Festival; “The Best Short Play Anthology; Nothing Immediate (OOBA Festival Winner); Railing It Uptown (Playscripts,Inc., Take Ten Anthology;); Sunday Go To Meetin’ (“30 Plays for Three Actors”, Humana Festival); Pearls on the Moon (Ensemble Studio Theatre; Stamford Theatre Works with Joanna Merlin, Pauline Flanagan). Edited by Ms. Lauro with Alexis Greene, the anthology, “Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women,” enjoyed publication by New Press, June, 2009 and was chosen as an “Honoree of The Coalition of Professional NY Women in Arts and Media.” Ms. Lauro is also author of a novel, The Edge. Her major fellowships include The Guggenheim in Playwriting, three National Endowment for the Arts Grants, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. >Read more at Shirley Lauro's website

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Honoring the veterans
In honor of the upcoming Veteran’s Day, University Theatre also invites our theatre patrons to contribute with a donation to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, which has helped with contacts and research for this production. Look for this and other veterans’ information in our lobby during the production. >More resources and information

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The Vietnam Women’s Memorial, A Legacy of Healing and Hope Vietnam Women'e Memorial
During and after the Vietnam War, there was little acknowledgement or support for the thousands of women who had voluntarily served. In 1983, one lone former Army nurse, Diane Carlson Evans, founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial project to champion for the placement of a memorial near the controversial Vietnam Wall. The committee was soon fighting a flurry of criticism that the Wall was complete as is, no matter that the accompanying Three Servicemen statue, without a woman, underscored the prevailing national belief that only men served and bore the wounds of war. Diane Carlson Evans spoke to the congress, “Is not saving the lives of over 350,000 soldiers who were wounded in Vietnam, and touching the lives of more than 59,000 soldiers whose names are on that wall, and trying to save their lives and being with them in their last moments—is that not of lasting historical significance to America?” Finally in 1988, President Reagan signed the approval for the memorial’s creation and in 1989, President Bush authorized the location. Final designs were approved and in November of 1993, the memorial was dedicated and the women of the Vietnam War were officially welcomed home at last.
>Read more at the memorial's website

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“If it wasn’t for us, the wall would be much wider and much higher.”
Diane Carlson Evans

Press release and photos available at



TICKET INFORMATION: Visit our website at, 919-515-1100.
$17-Adult ticket; $15 - Seniors, NCSU faculty and staff, students, alumni association members, parent association members and Encore; $5 NCSU student.

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