Performance Network Extends MY NAME IS ASHER LEV Through 9/15
Performance Network has announced the extension of their summer smash-hit co-production with Jewish Ensemble Theatre (JET), "My Name is Asher Lev" adapted by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok, directed by David Magidson (Artistic Director of JET), starring Naz Edwards, Mitchell Koory, and John Seibert. Extension performances will take place on Saturday, September 14 at 8pm and Sunday, September 15 at 2pm at Performance Network Theatre in Downtown Ann Arbor. For tickets and information, visit performancenetwork.org.
Originally announced to showcase its final performance on September 8, Performance Network and the JET's production of "My Name is Asher Lev" has received critical acclaim across the board. Due to high ticket sales and positive feedback from audiences and critics, performances will run through September 15 with an additional performance on September 14 at 8pm and September 15 at 2pm.
"...A performance among the best of all performances in any Detroit professional theater this season. 'My Name is Asher Lev,' is adapted for stage by Aaron Posner, a gifted playwright. The writing of Potok and Posner blend with a common beat that rips at your heart strings," said Vivian Degain of Oakland Press.
"What makes an experience in the theater worthwhile has less to do with the genre or style of a work than with its honesty. Is a play an authentic expression of a playwright, given life by genuine performances? Or is it sentimental, cliched, or, in the words of a character in Asher Lev, "pretty"? Asher Lev isn't the least bit pretty. And the production at PNT is as riveting as it is truthful. Director David Magidson, artistic director of the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield Township, where the production had an earlier run, has drawn nuanced performances from his stellar cast, which he moves through time and place on a three-level flexible stage, designed by Sarah Tanner and painted with light by Jon Weaver," Davi Napolean of Ann Arbor Observer.
"We have only three people on stage at any time, but two of them play multiple roles - some of them in stark contrast with each other. They are remarkable to see, because they are utterly convincing from one second to the next when they become somebody else," said Ruth Crystal-Zaromp from New Monitor.
"This is a brilliant show, appropriate for students, and a joy for anyone who favors taut scripts and ensemble acting over hijinks and histrionics," said Patrice Nolan of Examiner.com.
Recently, John Seibert received two Wilde Awards for Best Actor in a Musical ("A Little Night Music" at Performance Network Theatre) and Best Actor in a Comedy ("In the Next Room: or the Vibrator Play" at Performance Network Theatre). Naz Edwards also took home the award for Best Actress in a Musical ("A Little Night Music" at Performance Network Theatre). Both actors have received critical acclaim for their performances in "My Name is Asher Lev" and the cast was nominated for Best Ensemble in the 2013 Wilde Awards.
"Of the several actors I have seen lately in multiple roles, Seibert and Edwards (in three parts) fare best at making their transformations genuine and seamless. Koory performs similar magic as he switches from playing Asher as a 6-year-old to Asher as the play's adult narrator," said John Monaghan from the Detroit Free Press.
In addition to the performance of "My Name is Asher Lev", Performance Network Theatre and Ugly Mug Cafe & Roastery present a Backstage Art Show in which audiences are invited to a hidden gallery of local artists behind the set after the performance.
"Something is promised with PN productions is detailed set dressing. There is consistent attention to detail that had me exploring the set before the play even began. But even behind the set, the PN had artists displaying their work. I was delighted to find one of my friends, Alex Mandrilla, photograph paired with interesting pieces from other local artists. It was a serendipitous way to end a pleasant night," said the bloggers of Damn Arbor.
Additional performances of "My Name is Asher Lev" take place on Saturday, September 14 at 8pm and Sunday, September 15 at 2pm. Tickets range from $27 - $34 and can be purchased online at performancenetwork.org or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681.
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's resident professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.