My Name is Asher Lev plays at Rosebud Studio Stage this summer

Published Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rosebud actors Giovanni Mocibob and Nathan Schmidt star in gripping drama

about a young man’s struggle with his passion his family and his faith



Father (Ari – played by Nathan Schmidt) and son (Asher – played by Giovanni Mocibob) are never on the same page when discussing art and religion.


Beginning July 4, Rosebud patrons can see Anne of Green Gables and My Name Is Asher Lev on the same day.  Rosebud’s summer Studio Stage offering, My Name is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner is based on the well-known novel by Chaim Potok. The play follows a young Hasidic Jew who has an incredible gift for drawing. Unfortunately, his conservative parents consider his creative gift to be “foolishness” and they do everything in their power to get him to stop. Yet his passion to draw and paint is too strong, and he is forced to find a way among everything that is important to him: his faith, his art, his parents, his calling and his God.


Rosebud Theatre Artistic Director Morris Ertman claims that although this play is of a Hasidic Jewish family set in the 1940s, the underlying story “has been happening in homes for generations” and crosses cultural boundaries. Explains Ertman, “It’s an intimate tale that crystallizes the difficulty of making one’s way in the world when the vocation that calls to a young person differs from the expectations of one’s parents and community.” 


Asher shows his gift for art as he paints his mom in My Name is Asher Lev.


The novel by Potok was inspired by his own life. Although Potok had a gift for painting when young, he gave it up to pursue more serious interests. Much later, a gift of an easel from his wife and daughter rekindled his interest in painting, and he began to wonder what his life would have been like had he not abandoned his art, eventually publishing the story in 1972.

The Rosebud show is a remount of a production that received critical acclaim and positive reviews when in played at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre. In fact, the Rosebud Studio Stage offering will include the same artistic team, and two of the three actors. Ertman decided to bring the show to Rosebud when audiences and critics raved about the show, which also received three Jessie Richardson nominations for the set, costume and sound designs.


Giovanni Mocibob, who is also playing Gilbert in Rosebud’s summer musical Anne of Green Gables, plays the young artist retelling his life from age six to nineteen. Colin Thomas from The Georgia Straight said “Giovanni Mocibob…commands the stage as Asher."

Rosebud favourite, Nathan Schmidt, plays all the male roles, including Asher’s strict father, Ari Lev, and Asher’s artistic mentor, Jacob Kahn. His performance was praised by many including one audience member who noted Schmidt’s “fluid transition to various male characters in a continuous scene makes you forget that they are being played by one actor only.”



Asher (Giovanni Mocibob) and his mother Rivka (Heather Pattengale) have differing views about art.


New to the cast, but known to Rosebud audiences is Heather Pattengale who plays all the female roles, but primarily Asher’s long-suffering yet conflicted mother Rivka


My Name is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner, based on the novel by Chaim Potok, plays at the Studio Stage in Rosebud from July 4 - August 25. Shows run Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5:00 PM. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door (meal not included). Purchase tickets at Rosebud Theatre by calling 1-800-267-7553, or online


(l-r) Nathan Schmidt, Heather Pattengale and Giovanni Mocibob during rehearsals for My Name Is Asher Lev that opens July 4 at Rosebud Studio Stage.



CAST LIST: Asher (Giovanni Mocibob). All other male roles (Nathan Schmidt). All female roles (Heather Pattengale).


ARTISTIC PERSONNEL: Director (Morris Ertman), Scenic Designer (Lachlin Johnston), Costume Designer (Naomi Sider)

Lighting Designer (Morris Ertman), Sound Designer (Luke Ertman), Stage Manager (Conrad Belau).


PRODUCTION PERSONNEL: Production Manager (Mark Lewandowski), Technical Director (Jerod Fahlman), Head Set Carpenter (Byron Linsey), Scenic Artist(Cheryl Daugherty), Head of Sound (Jerod Fahlman), Head of Wardrobe  (Jette Brown), Properties (Jerod Fahlman).