Ari Brand ’06 has received acclaim for playing the title role in My Name Is Asher Lev, a play produced by the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn. which completed its run on May 27. The play has been adapted by Aaron Posner from the Chaim Potok novel about a troubled, successful painter whose creative work clashes with the world of his parents.
In a positive review of the production in The New York Times, Anita Gates writes: “If you are unfamiliar with the actors in the excellent new Long Wharf production of ‘My Name Is Asher Lev,’ just imagine Kevin Kline and Mary Beth Hurt as the parents and a very young Richard Thomas as their son. The cast sometimes evokes those colleagues of theirs. But do remember Ari Brand who plays the title role, a boy in 1950s Brooklyn who horrifies his Hasidic Jewish parents and community by becoming an artist. And the kind of artist he becomes. … Mr. Brand … burst onto the New York stage scene last year as the unguarded groom-to-be in A. R. Gurney’s ‘Black Tie.’ And in between, he played the title character’s teenage love interest in the Westport Country Playhouse’s production of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’
“Now, the Manhattan-born Mr. Brand appears on the Long Wharf main stage in a haunting performance as a child who grows into a man, suffering the torture of a talent that offends the world into which he was born.”
E. Kyle Minor in the New Haven Register also likes Brand’s performance: “Brand, a talented performer with intense eyes, never falters in communicating Asher’s passion, confusion and duty to his parents, whether the moment calls for him to portray a naive 6-year-old boy lost in his artwork or as a young man unable to reveal the nature of his climactic art show to his parents who simply won’t understand it.”