MY NAME IS ASHER LEV
By arrangement with Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd on behalf of
Dramatists Play Service Inc New York
Australian Premiere Season
By AARON POSNER ... adapted from the novel by CHAIM POTOK
Executive Producers Steven Curtis
Producers Amanda Rotberg
Treasurer Amanda Braun
Director Charles Slucki
Assistant to Director David Taylor
Stage Manager Jon Moss
Deputy Stage Manager Daniela Meisner
Technical Advisor Gabby Walters
Set Design and Construction Chris Purtle
Lighting Design Rohan Thornton
Lighting Operator Clary Riven
Sound Operator Zac Eichenbaum
Costume Designer Juliet Bennie
Props Amanda Rotberg
Make Up and Hair Gabbi Kane
Front of House Managers Sharyn Saffer
Front of House Staff Amanda Braun
Naomi Cherny Ashley Curtis
Jackie Cohen Georgie Curtis
Mimi Cohen Max Curtis
Melody Curtis Steven Curtis Michelle Karlik Georgia Lange
Liz Rotberg Sam Rotberg
Jules Salter Raoul Salter
Chaim Potok’s 1972 bestseller My Name Is Asher Lev has been deftly adapted by Aaron Posner.
Posner reduces the novel to its essential conflicts, yet rather than diluting the impact he effectively intensifies the immediacy of the emotional payoffs.
This drama may attack relatively familiar ideas in a forthright manner, but its effects manage to be both complex and direct, a concise yet deeply satisfying entertainment. It offers a moving and rich experience, along with a generous helping of theatrical guile.
Asher Lev, growing up a “Torah Jew” in postwar Crown Heights, Brooklyn, by the age of 6 in 1952 already has been seized by his Muse, irresistibly driven to draw and to apprehend the world through the prism of his vision. His parents, Aryeh and Rivkeh, refugees from Stalin’s Soviet Union, are devout followers of the unquestioned authority of the Rebbe, and Aryeh is dedicated to a mission of committed responsibility to support and rescue oppressed Russian Jews, consigning him to constant travel for diplomacy, fundraising, building schools and reclaiming shuls. In his absences, Asher and his mother are particularly close, and she can be supportive of his gift even as his father considers it a waste of time, a distraction from study.
Asher paints his own story, tracing his development from preschooler through adolescence to very early critical and popular success by 22, as he must seek his own path to aesthetic apprenticeship and personal expression despite the painful costs to his faith and family, both of which he nonetheless deeply loves. Ultimately he learns that while creativity may be his true religion, who he is as an artist must be inextricably bound up in his identity as a Jew and as his parents’ son, an upholder of contradicting traditions to which he equally belongs.
The pulsing heart of the matter remains the deeply complicated Rivkeh, an intelligent woman who married young to a charismatic man of conviction and causes, so different and yet in so many ways so like their possessed son. Externally, she must navigate her commitments to both men through their irreconcilable conflicts, and within herself she must adapt and survive her inconsolable griefs and frustrated drives for personal fulfillments.
Asher Lev (Adult) Joe Tigel
Asher Lev (Child) Palmer Manny Rosenberg
Asher Lev (Teen) Gideon Cohen
Aryeh Lev Daniel Fox
Rivkeh Lev Michelle Gray
Yitzchok Lev Leon Chapman
The Rebbe Leon Garfinkel
Jacob Kahn Henry Nusbaum
Anna Schaeffer Michelle Gray
Rachel Amanda Rotberg
Voice Leon Chapman
Cello Lexi Kowal