My Name Is Asher Lev
Season 17 18
By Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan present a co-production with Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company
November 4–26, 2017
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge Street, Toronto
A young Jewish artist is torn between his Hasidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his creative promise. As his genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, he must make a difficult choice between art and faith. This stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a triumphant and heartbreaking vision of what it means to be an artist.
Written by Aaron Posner
Novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Featuring Jonas Chernick, Ron Lea, and Sarah Orenstein
Stage Managed by Laura Baxter
Assistant Stage Managed by Bradley Dunn
Sound Designed by Thomas Ryder Payne
Lighting Designed by Kimberly Purtell
Set and Costume Designed by Brandon Kleiman
Beyond the Stage events
My Name Is… Cross-Cultural Reflections on Identity
November 4–26, 2017
Thought-provoking, humorous and deeply insightful.talkinbroadway.com
What makes this production work so well is the extent to which the actors inhabit their characters, living within the desires, beliefs and conflicts that are depicted.Toronto Star ★★★1/2☆
Perhaps what is enduring in appeal about Potok’s story is that it is about art and religion but doesn’t seem to favour one over the other – and perhaps that makes it unconventional in its own way and appeal to audiences that many similar stories don’t.Globe and Mail ★★★☆
Director Joel Greenberg guides this production with a sure hand, and it crackles with explosive emotion.Intermission Magazine ★★★☆
Aaron Posner is a Helen Hayes and Barrymore Award-winning director and playwright. He is a founder and former Artistic Director of Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre, is an Associate Artist at both the Folger Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and has directed at major regional theatres from coast to coast including the Folger, Seattle Rep, Portland Center Stage, The Alliance, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep, California Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Roundhouse Theatre, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Theatre J, American Player’s Theatre and many more. His adaptations include Chaim Potok’s THE CHOSEN and MY NAME IS ASHER LEV (both of which has enjoyed successful runs at more than 50 other theatres across the country), Ken Kesey’s SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, Mark Twain’s A MURDER, A MYSTERY AND A MARRIAGE, an adaptation of three Kurt Vonnegut short stories, entitled WHO AM I THIS TIME? (AND OTHER CONUNDRUMS OF LOVE) and STUPID FUCKING BIRD, a variation on Chekhov’s SEAGULL. Aaron was raised in Eugene, Oregon, graduated from Northwestern University, is an Eisenhower Fellow, and lives near Washington, DC.
Chaim Potok was born Herman Harold Potok on February 17, 1929. The son of Polish immigrants, he was reared in an Orthodox Jewish home in New York City, where he attended religious schools. As a young man he became fascinated by less restrictive Jewish doctrines, particularly the Conservative side of Judaism. He attended Yeshiva University and graduated summa cum laude in English literature in 1950 before moving on to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a Conservative rabbi. Potok then taught at several Jewish colleges, including the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, before moving on to become the managing editor of “Conservative Judaism” in 1964. Potok spent a year in Israel completing his doctoral dissertation on philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 and the following year became the editor of the “Jewish Publication Society of America,” which he remained for eight years before becoming a special-projects editor of the publication in 1974. Potok began his career as an author and novelist in 1967 with the publication of “The Chosen,” the first book from a major publisher to portray Orthodox Judaism in the United States. Two years later, he followed “The Chosen” with a sequel, “The Promise.” In 1972, Mr. Potok returned to the subject of Hasidism for a third time with his novel “My Name is Asher Lev,” the sequel to which, “The Gift of Asher Lev,” was published 18 years later in 1990. His other novels include “In the Beginning” (1975), “The Book of Lights” (1981), “Davita’s Harp” (1985), “I Am the Clay” (1992), “The Tree of Here” (1993), “The Sky of Now” (1995) and “The Gates of November” (1996). Potok also published several major non-fiction works, including “Wanderings: Chaim Potok’s History of the Jews” (1978).
For Studio 180: (selected) My Night with Reg, You Will Remember Me, Clybourne Park, The Normal Heart, Our Class, Parade, The Overwhelming, Stuff Happens, Blackbird, The Laramie Project. A co-founder of Studio 180, Joel is a Chalmers and Dora award–winning playwright and director who has directed productions across Canada. Elsewhere: Ain’t Misbevain‘, What the Butler Saw, Taking Sides, Vanities, Bells Are Ringing, Second City (Toronto and Chicago), Dames at Sea (too many times), Tonight at 8:00…8:30 in Newfoundland (all three editions), The Foreigner, Alice, Drink the Mercury and The Nuclear Power Play. Joel taught at Humber College Theatre School from 1984 to 1989 and the Drama Department at the University of Waterloo from 1991 to 2014, also serving as the Chair of each department.
For Studio 180: debut. Theatre credits include Biff in Death of a Salesman, Speed-The-Plow, The Chosen (WJT); Cote Saint Joe (Persephone / WJT); Film & TV credits include Fargo, The Best Laid Plans (Canadian Screen Award), The Border (Gemini Award, ACTRA Award nomination), My Awkward Sexual Adventure (TIFF Top Ten, ACTRA Award & Canadian Comedy Award nominations), Borealis (Vancouver International Film Festival Special Jury Award), A Swingers Weekend (Canadian Film Festival Best Ensemble Cast Award), How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town (Canadian Film Festival Best Ensemble Cast Award), Private Eyes, Saving Hope, Covert Affairs and the upcoming films James vs His Future Self and The Prague Orgy based on the novel by Philip Roth.
Aryeh Lev and Others
For Studio 180: debut. Ron is very excited to be making his Canadian Stage debut. Ron has worked in many theatres across the country over the last 40 years. Recent credits include; Kill the Poor (Assembly Theatre), My Name Is Asher Lev (Studio 180/Harold Green Jewish Theatre), First Dates (the Toronto Fringe). Select credits include Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre), August (Alberta Theatre Projects), December Man (Green Thumb Theatre/Prairie Theatre Exchange). Betrayal at WJT, Motel Plays (Factory Theatre), and One Eyed Kings (Tarragon Theatre), and many shows at Centaur Theatre. Ron is a 2 time “My Entertainment Awards” nominee, and has worked extensively in Film and Television, and is an ACTRA award winner and 5 time nominee.
Rivkeh Lev and Others
For Studio 180: Stuff Happens, Normal Heart, God of Carnage. Sarah Orenstein started her career at the age of 5. She studied at the prestigious Vancouver Playhouse acting school and has appeared on stages from her native Halifax to the Queen Charlotte Islands. She has won multiple awards in a career spanning 50 years. She is seen on Film and T.V., commits herself to coaching young actors and new play development. She has recently begun to explore direction in her association with Studio 180. Some credits: Shaw Festival – thirteen seasons, including Millionairess, Blyth Spirit and Heartbreak House. Tarragon Theatre – Patience, Collected Works of Billy The Kid, Scorched (Canadian tour). Stratford Festival – five seasons, most recently seen in Birds of a Kind and Nathan the Wise.
For Studio 180: My Night With Reg, You Will Remember Me, NSFW, God of Carnage, Clybourne Park. Other selected theatre credits: Black Boys, The 20th of November, Arigato Tokyo, Obaaberima, The Maids, The Silicone Diaries, Breakfast, (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), Actually (Obsidian/ Harold Green), The Story, Tails From the City, Happy Days (Common Boots Theatre), Trout Stanley, Little Pretty and the Exceptional, Age of Arousal (Factory Theatre), Elle (Theatre Passe Muraille), I Call myself Princess (Cahoots/Paper Canoe/Native Earth), Sweat, Love and Information, Venus in Fur, 7 seasons of Shakespeare in High Park (CanadianStage), Soliciting Temptation, More Fine Girls (Tarragon Theatre), The Berlin Blues, Ipperwash (Blyth Festival), Speaking in Tongues, Festen (The Company Theatre), A Christmas Carol, The Story, Macbeth (Caravan Farm Theatre). Laura is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, 2005. Thank you to my amazing wife Shawn for all your love and support.
Assistant Stage Manager
For Studio 180: My Night With Reg, You Will Remember Me. Select Theatre Credits: Chicago (Globe Theatre); Dear Evan Hansen (Mirvish Productions); The Baroness and the Pig, Henry V (Shaw Festival); Mixie and the Halfbreeds (fu-GEN Theatre); The Comedy of Errors, A Grand Time in the Rapids (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Buying the Moose (Port Stanley); The Wizard of Oz (The Grand Theatre); The Heidi Chronicles, The Odd Couple (Soulpepper); It’s A Wonderful Life (Theatre Aquarius). Other: Bradley is a graduate of the McMaster University and Sheridan College. Thanks to family and friends for their constant support.
Thomas Ryder Payne
For Studio 180: debut. Thomas Ryder Payne is a composer and sound designer for theatre, dance and film. Selected past work includes designs for Stratford, Shaw, Mirvish, Soulpepper, CanStage, Tarragon, Factory, TPM, YPT, Crows, Modern Times, Aluna, BIBT, Nightwood, Toronto Dance Theatre, NAC, Theatre Calgary, GCTC, RMTC and many others. Thomas has received 2 Dora awards and 19 nominations.
For Studio 180: My Night With Reg, You Will Remember Me, God of Carnage, Stuff Happens. Kimberly is a Toronto based lighting designer for theatre, opera and dance and is thrilled to be working with Studio 180 once again. Her designs have been critically acclaimed across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Prague, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Moscow and Mongolia. She has designed for the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage Company, Soulpepper Theatre, Mirvish Productions, National Arts Centre and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Philadelphia, Arena Stage in Washington DC, Tapestry Opera, Hamilton Opera, Edmonton Opera, Theatre Calgary, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Citadel Theatre, Place des Arts among many others. She has also designed productions for the Pan Am Games and the Vancouver and Beijing Cultural Olympiads. Kimberly has been nominated for numerous awards and has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the Pauline McGibbon Award, a`Sterling Award, and a Montreal English Theatre Award.
Set and Costume Designer
For Studio 180: debut. Brandon is a set and costume designer based in Toronto. Recent credits include: Life After, (set, Canadian Stage Co. w/ Musical Stage Co, and Young Street Theatricals), Undercover, A New Improvised Murder Mystery (costumes, Rebecca Northan, Tarragon, Vertigo & The Citadel), Our Town (costumes, Theatre Rusticle w/ Buddies In Bad Times), The Little Mermaid (costumes, The Globe Theatre), Reframed (set, AGO & Musical Stage Co.) One Night Only (set, Factory Theatre, Dora Mavor Moor Audience Choice Award 2016); Blind Date (set, Tarragon Theatre, Dora nominated Outstanding Production); Sousatzka: The Musical (set design associate, Theatro Proscenium Ltd.) Shrek; The Musical (costumes, The Globe Theatre), A Christmas Story (set, Sudbury Theatre Centre). Brandon was a design assistant with The Stratford Festival for 5 seasons, nominated for the 2017 Pauline McGibbon Award and is a recipient of the OAC Chalmers Development Grant. For more information and a portfolio please visit www.brandonkleimandesign.com