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Netflix Star Luzer Twersky to Lead Upcoming Off-Broadway Revival of AWAKE & SING!

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Netflix Star Luzer Twersky to Lead Upcoming Off-Broadway Revival of AWAKE & SING!

Luzer Twersky, star of the upcoming Off-Broadway revival of Clifford Odets' masterpiece AWAKE AND SING!, is the subject of the new film documentary ONE OF US, which received unanimous rave reviews upon its October 20th Netflix premiere.

Produced and directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (JESUS CAMP, DETROPIA), ONE OF US chronicles Luzer's break from the insular world of New York's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, despite threats of retaliation and the necessity of cutting all ties with his family.

In 2008, Luzer made his painful break from the Hasidic community at age 23 in order to pursue an acting career. He scored his breakout role as Shulem in the 2014 film FÉLIX & MEIRA and he had a recurring role on the second season of the hit TV series "Transparent." Luzer also appeared in New Yiddish Rep's hit productions of GOD OF VENGEANCE and RHINOCEROS.

AWAKE AND SING! will begin performances November 25th, with Opening Night set for Wednesday, December 6th at the Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14 Street (between First & Second Aves.) A Yiddish version of AWAKE AND SING! was produced by the Federal Theatre Project in 1938 and it is this translation that will be performed in the upcoming Off-Broadway revival with English supertitles.

The famed Group Theatre presented the Broadway premiere of Clifford Odets' AWAKE AND SING! in 1935 and the play returned to New York three years later featuring a Yiddish-speaking cast directed by Jacob Mestel. This 1938 Federal Theatre production restored to the play some qualities it lost earlier when Odets' colleagues at The Group Theatre had asked him to tone down the Yiddish colloquialisms and syntax that were part of his New York ghetto characters' English. The playwright's initial impulse to let Jewish immigrants speak of struggle, poverty and survival in their own language and speech rhythms was realized anew in Chaver Paver's adaptation. Odets' distressed characters who longed for a life "not printed on dollar bills" could be heard speaking Yiddish nightly on Broadway, at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre, from December 1938 to April 1939.

Generally considered Clifford Odets' finest play, AWAKE AND SING! is the story of the Bergers, a lower-middle-class, three-generation Jewish family living in a Bronx apartment during the Depression. Luzer Twersky will play Sam Feinschreiber, the unsuspecting immigrant who marries into the family. AWAKE AND SING! recalls that this country was founded as the land of opportunity for immigrants who came with an enduring belief in the American dream.

Under the direction of New Yiddish Rep artistic director, David Mandelbaum, the international cast of AWAKE AND SING! will also feature Ronit Asheri (star of Yiddishpiel Theater), Amy Coleman (BEEHIVE, THE LAST SESSION), Lea Kalisch (COCOADIOS, BOUNTIFUL), Mira Kessler (GOD OF VENGEANCE), Moshe Lobel, David Mandelbaum (WAITING FOR GODOT, YENTL), Eli Rosen (RHINOCEROS), and Israeli film star Gera Sandler (A FILM UNFINISHED, JELLYFISH, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS).

Legendary playwright and screenwriter, Clifford Odets (1906-1963), authored such Depression-era dramas as GOLDEN BOY, ROCKET TO THE MOON and WAITING FOR LEFTY, cultural sensations that had enduring impact on his generation of writers. In his memoir, Arthur Miller recalled that "an Odets play was awaited like news hot off the press, as though through him we would know what to think of ourselves and our prospects."

New Yiddish Rep is dedicated to creating modern theater which speaks to a diverse contemporary audience, including those who never might have thought they could connect to a performance in a language other than their own.

AWAKE AND SING! is being presented in association with the Theater at the 14th Street Y and performances will be Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, with matinees Saturday & Sunday at 2 pm through December 24th. Tickets are available through www.NewYiddishRep.org or by calling 646-395-4310.


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