(Sarasota, FL) – FST’s Stage III series returns with My Name is Asher Lev, written by Aaron Posner and adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok. It will have a limited engagement beginning March 9 running through March 27, 2016 in the Keating Theatre. Tickets range from $32-39 and may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the Box Office.
This production at FST is part of the theatre’s Stage III series, which contains the most challenging and evocative plays of each season. Based on a best-selling novel, this new American play tells the powerful story of a boy prodigy. Set in post-war Brooklyn, Asher Lev must be a painter at all costs even against the will of his family, community, and tradition.
My Name is Asher Lev received its world premiere at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company in 2009, and has been called “Compellingly personal, yet universal” by The Associate Press and “An intense, even profound spectacle” by The Denver Post. The New York Times calls it, “A primal scene of American drama.” The Huffington Post says it’s “Thrilling and suspenseful.”
This coming of age drama presents audiences with questions like, “What is the price of passion” and “How much are we willing to pay?” According to the show’s Director and FST Associate Artist, Jason Cannon, “At the most fundamental level, it’s simply about a feeling that absolutely everyone can relate to: feeling like an outsider, feeling misunderstood, not knowing how to carve out our place in the world with integrity. That bone-deep sense of loneliness, isolation, and ultimately self-awareness and courage permeates every page.”
In this emotionally stirring production, the theme of family runs even deeper than the script on the page. Playing the role of Riv Lev is Naama Potok, daughter of the original novel’s author, the late Chaim Potok. Making her FST debut and portraying this role for the third time, Naama speaks to her personal connection to this story. “One of the most rewarding aspects of playing Rivkeh Lev is the opportunity to learn her again, and more deeply, every time. There is always a new and different aspect of her being that emerges in my particular relationships with the actors on stage with me, and in the discoveries made by my director. I find that all of us are changed by bringing this story to life, and in given moments – throughout these explorations – I understand my father intimately.”
Potok’s credits include Blue Moon Over Memphis, God of Vengeance, Macbeth, and The Old Man in the Sea. Taking the stage alongside her are FST newcomers, Nathan Kaufman and Ben Rosenbach. Kaufman’s credits include The Tempest, As You Like It, and King Lear. Rosenbach’s credits include The Chosen, South Pacific, Rent, Spring Awakening.
FST’s Stage III series is dedicated to the presentation of socially significant productions, stimulating audiences by presenting challenging content and unique form. Past Stage III productions include Edward Albee’s The Goat, Freud’s Last Session, and I’m a Stranger Here Myself.
In addition, playwright Aaron Posner will be in residence April 10-15 for a workshop and reading of his new musical, What ho, Jeeves.
Cannon speaks to elements of what makes My Name is Asher Lev an appropriate production to be the next Stage III show on the Keating stage. “It’s the minimalism and the incredibly subversive content. The story has so much to say about religion, art, familial relationships, and doubt. On the surface it can seem like a typical ‘tortured artist’ fable, but beneath the surface there is the purest agony and the deepest love… and the two are intimately intertwined. As I approach this story, I will be framing the experience with the designers and actors in terms of ‘cost.’ There is a cost to everything. The things that truly matter always cost you something. They have to, or they wouldn’t matter. And your integrity is measured by how willing and able you are to pay that cost.”
My Name is Asher Lev runs for a limited engagement in the Keating Theatre from
March 9 – 27, 2016. Tickets range from $32-$39 and may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the Box Office.
About Florida Studio Theatre
Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist, Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Producing Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and renamed The Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret and John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre.
Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.