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My Name is Asher Lev
Playing at the Westside Theatre located 409 West 43rd street. It runs one hour thirty minutes with no intermission. The play closes on September 15, 2013.
The story is based on the novel by Chain Potok, an author and rabbi.
My Name is Asher Lev premiere in Philadelphia at the Arden Theatre Company in 2009. From March to April 2010 it played in Bethesda, Maryland at the Round House Theatre. The last place it played before coming to New York was in New Haven Connecticut at the Long Wharf Theatre.
Chaim Potok granddaughter Naama Potok is the female understudy.
The play takes place in the 1950’s in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York and in Manhattan.
Asher tells his story to the audience. How the desire to draw came early in his life. The need to express himself thru his art is taboo in his religious community. He said I pray three times a day, eat kosher food. Why not paint?
His father Aryeh Lev (Mark Nelson) and his uncle (Mark Nelson) work for the Rebbe.
The story then travels back in time and tells what happened at different stages of his life with his painting. It starts at the age of seven until he is a young man.
When he becomes an adult he travels to Italy and France to see the art work there.
Asher paints a person on a crucifix. It’s his mother Rivkeh Lev (ILona Levine) face on the center crucifix. His father’s face is on one side and Asher is on the other. Both are on crucifixes.
His art work is in a show that includes this piece and other things he has done. The show is a sellout. Since there are no nudes paintings in the show his parents decide to come to the opening. Asher tries to steer them away from the painting but they get there before he can do so. They are shocked.
Asher is ostracized from the community and his family. He decides to move out from his parent’s apartment.
The last thing we see is a lit candle in the window.
My name is Asher Lev is a well done show and is worth seeing.
I like it when Asher comes to the front of the stage to tell his story. He does this a couple of times. It makes you feel like he is talking to you.
Ari Brand does a solid performance. The young man torn between tradition and his need to do his paintings.
Mark Nelson and Ilona Levine do several roles in the show. All of which they both do an outstanding job.
The sad part is in the Jewish faith when someone dies they leave a candle in the window. So we know his family considers him dead. Asher sacrifices everything to pursue his passion and dream to paint. At what price? How many people are willing to do this?
Review by Rozanna Radakovich
Photos by Annazor.
To read an interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos. Click on recent photos for this and other shows.