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Etai BenShlomo and More Join Avi Hoffman in THE RISE OF DAVID LEVINSKY Reading, 10/21

The actor and director Avi Hoffman is organizing a special presentation of "The Rise of David Levinsky," a musical by Isaiah Sheffer and Bobby Paul, which will honor Sheffer, the late founding artistic director of Symphony Space. The open-to-the-public reading on Monday October 21 at 7pm, takes place at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street). The free event marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Sheffer, who died in November of last year.

Hoffman, featured on the Starz TV Series Magic City, has been appearing concurrently as Pozzo in the highly acclaimed world premiere of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in Yiddish (at The Castillo Theatre), and his own critically acclaimed one-man musical "Still Jewish After All These Years" at Stage 72.

"The Rise of David Levinsky" is directed by and features Hoffman as David Levinsky. He will be joined by the Broadway star Etai BenShlomo ("Wicked") as the young David. The cast will also include Marilyn Casserta, Deena Eddy, Frankie Gonzalez, Michael Simon Hall, Andrew Keltz, Paul Thomas Ryan, Eyal Sherf, Cheryl Stern, Jessica Taige, Peter Tedeschi, and Mark Della Ventura. The musical director will be Lanny Meyers.

Originally produced at the American Jewish Theater and the George Street Playhouse before enjoying an Off-Broadway run at the John Houseman Theater in 1986, "The Rise of David Levinsky" was based on the popular 1917 novel by Abraham Cahan, the influential editor of the Jewish Daily Forward. Sheffer and Paul's riveting story of assimilation follows the young David Levinsky, as he arrives a penniless orphan from Russia, and becomes the most successful garment manufacturer in America. Alternately bright and brooding, the show captures the natural strains and ambivalence of 20th century Jewish immigration as material wealth, comfort and security are achieved at the expense of spirituality and identity.

Incidentally, Hoffman appeared in the show's premiere as the young Levinsky.

For tickets to this free event, call 212/864-5400 or visit www.symphonyspace.org.

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