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Art, faith converge in ‘My Name is Asher Lev’

The dictates of religion and the mysteries of art collide in Chaim Potok’s novel “My Name is Asher Lev,” a staged adaptation of which opens Oct. 22 in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre in Getzville (2640 North Forest Road, Getzville).

The Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York production, directed by Saul Elkin, stars Adam Yellen as the title character along with Tom Zindle and Josie DiVincenzo. The story concerns an artistically gifted young man (Yellen) who struggles to reconcile his drive for creative freedom with his family’s dedication to the strict traditions of Hasidic Judaism.

“How many of us have experienced this conflict with loving parents, and understand a conflict that frequently cannot be resolved without anguish for both the parents and child?” a release from the theater asks. “Our hope is that as Asher Lev narrates his own story that both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences will recognize and be moved by the dilemma facing this family.”

Thursday’s opening will feature a talk-back session with Adena Potok, the late author’s wife, who has been in Buffalo for several days for a series of readings and sessions with local college students. The company had planned to mount the show in 2013, but its performance rights were revoked at the last minute, forcing the theater to replace it with a James Sherman comedy.

Tickets are $10 to $38. Call 688-4114, Ext. 391 or visit jewishrepertorytheatre.com.

–Colin Dabkowski

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