Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stage Door: The Immigrant (reviews)

The Stage Door Theatre opened its production of Mark Harelik's The Immigrant at its Coral Springs Location on June 6, 2012.
Playwright Mark Harelik follows his grandfather’s flight from Russian pogroms to resettlement and struggle in early 20th century Texas. Speaking just a few words of English, Haskell Harelik totes bananas door-to-door in a wheelbarrow, selling his produce for a penny apiece. He walks miles just to get the bananas, many more to sell them. But his toil is in service of a dream: When he has saved enough money, he’ll send for his young wife Leah, and their new life will truly begin.
Hugh M. Murphy directs a cast that features Andrew Wind, Ann Chamberlain, Janet Weakly, and Ken Clement.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
...The Immigrant has broad, enduring appeal because of the folk-tale warmth Harelik brings to his family story and because so many of its issues resonate in this country of immigrants. Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs is just one of the area theaters that has presented The Immigrant in the past, and now the company has returned to tiny, turn-of-the-century Hamilton, Tex., with a new production of the play.
...director Hugh M. Murphy draws particularly strong performances from the younger actors playing the Hareliks. Wind and Chamberlain both handle the Yiddish that their characters speak early on quite well. And both mature convincingly, changing from wary newcomers to thrilled new parents (times three, each baby a boy) to successful citizens whose sons are about to defend their American homeland in World War II.

Weakley and Clement are good actors stuck playing folksy stereotypes, and Weakley’s wig doesn’t look like a hairstyle a rural Texan would have sported in 1909. Clement makes Milton a bombastic guy with a heart of gold (the sound level for all the actors is often ear-splitting), but finally, at the play’s end and with a single word, he achieves a moment that seems real and touching
The Immigrant plays at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through July 1, 2012.

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